We believe too, just not in bond
If you are a believer, what does that make me?
I wonder if the people who created the “I believe in Waterbury” slogan to promote the $5 million bond thought about what it means to people who cannot support the bond. Proponents of this bond talk about how Irene brought us together as one community working together. Claiming the mantle of “belief in Waterbury” for one particular viewpoint promotes intolerance of other views, leaves many people out, and divides us. In the Vietnam War, the patriotism of war protesters was questioned. In the Iraq War, people who opposed the war were accused of not supporting the troops. In Waterbury, people who oppose the bond are presumed to not believe in Waterbury. Many of us “nonbelievers” have spent countless hours over decades working for the good of our town. We just don’t agree that we need to spend nearly $8 million to house our municipal offices, library, historical society and, if the village opts in, the village police.
Waterbury has survived, and will survive and prosper as it has always done, by the hard work, vision and common sense of its residents. We have done a lot with minimal investment of public funds, and our vitality and resilience are testimonies to our strength. Our local municipal government need not be, nor should it be, all things to all people, nor should it be the “go-to” source for every local, and even regional, want and need. We should vote down this bond so that the voters have more than 30 days to evaluate the intricacies and nuances of the plan that has just recently been put before us with dollar signs attached. There has never been, until this vote, an opportunity to evaluate this proposal compared to alternatives with realistic dollar signs attached. Previous public input has been dominated by the aftermath of the FEMA-orchestrated long-term recovery process from Irene, in which FEMA officials encouraged people to “dream big” because grant money was going to rain down upon us. FEMA fell short of its promises but set the stage for people to yearn for options that were not tempered by financial reality.
Let’s vote down this bond proposal and start afresh with a process that balances our wishes with our resources and preserves some financial capacity to meet both expected and unexpected expenses in the future.
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