Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Letter to the editor
As I pay my household's property taxes, with its 12 percent increase from last year, and with a potential federal government shutdown and all its negative ramifications looming over us, I can't help but wonder about the actions of our town government in recent years and Readfield's economic future.
We had a school budget increase higher than any district around us when many had little or no increase, even though it was decisively voted down.
We had to borrow money for much-needed and overdue road reconstruction with a budget overrun on one project and mishandling of the other four to the point that the contractor with the lowest bid couldn't do them all by winter.
We have declining funds in our capital reserves without enough growth to replenish them. Businesses are closing. Longtime residents are selling inherited waterfront property because they can't afford to own it.
A $500,000 sidewalk with "no cost to taxpayers" cost $710,000 with a 20-year maintenance and plowing obligation. Raises went out for all town employees, while many people struggle to make ends meet. No final number has yet been issued for the cost of closing the failed public works department.
Sound familiar? It should. It's the same road both our state and federal governments have gone down, only to pass on the many problems to future generations.
The town's auditor says Readfield is financially sound, but I wonder how long these practices can go on.
It doesn't have to be this way. Budgets can be voted down, and contracts don't have to be renewed. Maybe it's time for a change.