Democracy Takes All Of Us

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Democracy takes all of us
By Cheryl Beardlsee

There was quite a turnout for the Oct. 23rd town of [local town] Board Meeting. This meeting was to authorize a tax levy in excess of the limit established by Municipal Law. The general consensus of those present was not in agreement with the Town Board. From the attitude of Board members, they were not too welcoming of the negative feedback from the residents present, and they basically made it clear they intend to go ahead, regardless. Using political jargon they think is over our heads to defend yet another tax increase on our properties!

My comment on the matter was that for far too long government has laid on the shoulders of the people, not only their over-inflated salaries, but the expenses of all their “pet projects” they want to accomplish also. My solution is simple: STAY WITHIN YOUR BUDGET!! If you do go over (which we all sometimes do) DEDUCT IT FROM YOUR OWN SALARIES OR GO WITHOUT. You could start by lowering the excessive heat in the town buildings a few degrees! Do all the things we are forced to do when money gets tight. I can’t knock on my neighbors’ doors for a handout when I want to buy something or can’t pay my bills.

Here we are in the midst of a recession, with the cost of living higher than we imagined it could be, and our town is raising assessments, overriding tax caps, putting in parks, playgrounds and expensive lodges, wasting gas mowing empty lots that have hundreds of thousands of tax dollars (yours and mine) invested in them! And during the financial crisis in our nation, the town of [local town]’s retirement benefits [went] up $56,000 last year alone! For whom? I have watched over the last decade, salaries of town employees increase by tens of thousands of dollars. And the size of the payroll increased as we added assistants to almost every position!

[Town supervisor] gloats over the acquisition of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money, but somehow has forgotten grant money is also tax dollars! Three years in a row he has received over $100,000 for solar panels for the court house and highway department, total to date–$491,519.67. He received $417,040.00 for the Veterans Park which is nothing but a sign on grass. He has received hundreds of thousands for the new park on [local road]—all of this while our nation falls deeper and deeper into debt. Debt our children and grandchildren can never repay! But politicians live by a separate set of rules; if times get bad, give yourself a raise! If you can’t afford your projects, apply for grants! THEN RAISE TAXES TO PAY FOR IT.

Politicians are only people in a position to make decisions that involve your money and affect your standard of living. If no one protests, no one should complain.

It is my goal to organize a neighborhood association. With phones, emails and stamps, we can keep abreast of any issue that needs action on our part. I know how hard it is for one person to attend every meeting. Community involvement is the key and together we can keep [local town] an affordable place to live and retire. I pray that if you are concerned, you will be at the next budget meeting with a tentative new date of Nov. 27 at 6:00pm. [If you have] any questions, please feel free to call me [through the GVPS].

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