As a native Vermonter and resident of the town of Danby over the past 40 years, I have seen property taxes increase dramatically. I decided to attend monthly Select Board meetings. During the public comment section questions are most often ignored or have remained unanswered. The lack of preparation by the Select Board and office personnel amaze me.
Questions I find puzzling are:
Why has the budget for road maintenance for at least the past four years been the same? It appears there is a lack of knowledge in formulating budgets annually.
Why does the Select Board find it necessary to have an attorney in attendance at nearly all board meetings who represents only the board but is paid by our taxes?
Why has there been a policy to replace vehicles every several years with no provision in the budget to pay for them? The most recent purchase was for $140,000, with a reserve fund of $35,000. When questioned about leasing or purchasing a leftover, the board’s response was, “We decided several years ago to purchase a new truck and we don’t care that it’s not in the budget.”
In tough economic times with taxpayers losing jobs and homes, our town employees requested a 10 percent annual increase and received 3 percent raises because the Select Board doesn’t represent the majority of the town’s residents. The Select Board’s opinion is, “This would be a real hardship for them.” Surrounding towns have made those tough decisions. Our teachers have accepted a wage freeze for the past two years.
Two candidates for Select Board, Chip Wright and Bill Gormley, would bring greater transparency, more accountability and a willingness to listen to the concerns of citizens of Danby, and that is why they will receive my vote on May 15.
RICHARD H. SMITH
DanbyMORE IN Letters
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