Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Paying Moore and Getting Less

    We all know states, cities and towns are going bankrupt and tax hikes and overrides are what the politicians believe will help pay the bills.  It will not.  I believe that looking and a do over of those public union contracts would be a better starting place instead of nickle and dimming the tax payer.   In the past people have voted for overrides to build schools, just to see it does not work and the town is back for more overrides.

Case in point from a very unhappy tax payer:
To the editor:
In 1989, the Ipswich town budget included curbside trash pickup as well as funds to run the transfer station. Ipswich residents had always considered these services a desirable and legitimate function of our town government.
Then in 1990 Town Hall got the idea to do a Prop. 21/2 override of $663,557 just for trash. It passed because we didn't know any better. Town Hall received an immediate and permanent windfall!
The pile of money which had always been used for waste removal in Ipswich was now free and clear for other budgetary purposes, while trash removal in Ipswich would be covered strictly by override money.
But that wasn't enough, was it?
Town Hall saw all that tempting override money being spent on waste removal, and coveted the money from that budget too.
Twenty years later, that $663,557 trash override is now raking in $1,087,315, and will continue to increase 2.5 percent every single year permanently.
A Recycling Advisory Committee was formed to provide political cover and helpful suggestions for appropriating the override money. Ipswich residents were led down the path from voluntary recycling to mandatory recycling. Bag limits followed with a simple and systematic phasing out of trash collection to one bag per family so far.
So what happens once you coerce Ipswich residents into paying for each and every bag of trash? Have you decision-makers thought it through?
At that point you will have appropriated 100 percent of the trash override money for other budgetary items, claiming all the while that you are saving taxpayers money. Amazing!
The 1990 trash override should be terminated if the legitimate public service has been phased out; the money should not be misappropriated. Overrides are for a specific funding purpose. The Board of Selectmen does not have the authority to de-fund trash removal and use the override money for any other purpose.
Ditto for Ipswich schools. The schools warned of specific impending cuts unless we passed an override to fund specific items. This not only amounts to a contract with Ipswich taxpayers — it is a legal obligation.
If the schools say, 'Pass the override and we will keep this teacher and this program and this bus service,' those commitments are as permanent as the increased tax levy limit created by the override. So forget about charging bus fees; we have already paid for them in the override, and I expect we will continue to receive the service promised and paid for.
I am a taxpayer. I have been paying and paying for this trash collection override. I expect the override money of $1,087,315 to be used for its legal and stated purpose.
Town Manager Bob Markel may say he does not have the authority to pick up the "REJECTED" bag of trash still in our driveway. I say to him, and members of the Board of Selectmen that they do not have the authority to deny pickup, but in fact have a legal obligation to use the override money for its only stated purpose.
Days have passed; I want my trash picked up now!
Jay Angell

           Some of you might find this hard to believe, but years ago, when I was a girl, families had 'burn barrels' in their yards that trash was brought and actually set a fire.  Can't do that anymore, environmental police and all.  We also had garbage trucks that would pick-up food waste before the electric garbage disposal that also uses more energy in turn with higher fuel bills.  You might not like this idea, but it got the job done and no need to recycle (high cost) or cutting yourself washing tin cans and bottles!!!

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