Letter: Yes, Grafton’s Budget Can Be Cut
To the Editor:
In your “Grafton Budget Is Proxy Fight” article, the difference between the 10 percent and 13 percent figures doesn’t depend on “whether the Free Staters’ or Selectboard’s figures are used,” but basic facts: My motion was to set the budget to a 10 percent reduction from the fiscal year 2012 budget. That this works out to a 13 percent reduction from the “proposed” budget only emphasizes how much more of our money the selectmen wanted this year.
And who are these “allies” of the Free Staters? The long-time residents who are sick of ever-increasing property taxes? Residents disgusted with the Selectboard handing a no-bid, vastly overpriced concrete slab contract to the husband of Selectwoman Jennie Joyce (initially a $11,250 project and now over budget) or appointing the wife of another, David Rienzo, as health officer?
Maybe these “allies” would vote against giving the selectmen more money regardless of whether or not Free Staters were leading the fight.
Selectman Rienzo’s statement that “people are definitely going to notice” the cuts is correct only if the selectmen choose to distribute the cuts in a way that makes people notice (which is perhaps what they want to do).
I believe $128,000 can be cut from the budget without hurting public services such as the fire department, ambulance, police, public assistance and road department. I can do it; why can’t they? My suggestions — and what I will push for, if elected — is to start by firing assessment firm Avitar ($25,060), severely reducing the amount of money the town pays for lawyers ($15,000) and debt service ($6,000), closing what I consider the Selectboard’s slush fund ($2,000), and consolidating the transfer station with the road department (saving perhaps half of the $92,000 solid waste budget).
Such consolidation would reduce the town’s insurance, FICA and government buildings line items, too. And I’m sure there’s more I can find.
If the selectmen choose to spread cuts across all departments, hurting public services, that’s their doing — and the blame for any pain it causes the residents they ostensibly represent rests solely with them.
Jeremy J. Olson