Letter: Reckless Proposals in Grafton
To the Editor:
Poor Jeremy Olson (“Yes, Grafton’s Budget Can Be Cut,” Forum, March 6).
After having pushed through a $128,000 cut to Grafton’s proposed budget at the deliberative session, a number he pulled out of thin air, he now is in the difficult position of having to show how his budget can be implemented without affecting town services. He can’t.
His plan is to: fire the workers at the transfer station (saving, he claims, “perhaps half of the $92,000 solid waste budget,” when salaries actually amount to only one-third of that number); fire Avitar, our independent, professional assessor ($25,060); and severely limit expenditures for legal advice and representation ($15,000), debt service ($6,000) and contingency ($2,000). Even using his figures, he saves less than $95,000 — a far cry from $128,000.
But we should not use his figures.
Olson wrongly maintains that these cuts will be harmless. No one to work at the transfer station? No problem, he says — the highway department will do it, presumably for free, in their spare time.
No one to keep tax assessments up to date? Olson says the selectmen can do that, again for free, in their spare time.
Legal advice? Debt service? Unneeded luxuries, in Olson’s book.
Olson’s plan is reckless, and his accusation that the Selectboard is threatening to punish the town if they vote for this by cutting services is ridiculous and offensive. The simple fact is that there is no way to cut $128,000 from Grafton’s budget without limiting services.
Interestingly, Olson also criticizes the Grafton Selectboard for appointing my wife as health officer. He does not say that she is not qualified for the position, because he cannot. She is a registered nurse with two masters degrees in health care fields and has worked in health care since 1974. She was simply the more qualified of the two candidates who applied for the position. And, ironically, she does this job for free, in her spare time.