Is there anything more ridiculous than the West Hartford Taxpayers Association?
It demands that we cut, cut, cut and then, when cuts are made, it screams NO! NOT THAT!
For Judy Aron, its vice president, to tell The Hartfor Courant that eliminating curbside leaf vacuum truck pickup is “a direct hit on our senior citizens” is both silly and stupid.
To use it as justification for seeking another budget vote is so stunningly obtuse that I can’t believe even this group could make the argument.
First off, the vacuum pickup is a luxury that most towns don’t do. We’re constantly told by people like Aron that we can’t afford these extra anymore, but when one is cut, she howls. Give me a break.
Even more than that, though, is the simple reality that the service should be stopped. Why should the town go around sucking up leaves? It’s far better that they get bagged and hauled off instead of blowing all over the neighborhood, clogging up storm drains, and presenting potentially deadly piles for children to hide in IN THE STREET. Plus I won’t miss the whirring noise of the damn things on otherwise delightful autumn days.
Anyway, Judy, your credibility is shot now.
The town made a reasonable decision on how to save some money without hurting the community. It’s a harship for some, sure, though I don’t think the elderly are taking a bigger hit than anyone else on it. Perhaps it’s just that you want the cuts to hurt only the children?
There’s something seriously wrong if taxpayers have gunned two straight budgets by wide margins.
So what is it?
One could argue that the problem is that town leaders are simply trying to spend more money than residents are willing to support. This clearly has some truth to it, but it’s simplistic.
Another alternative is that people are struggling financially and, given the choice, are going to try to lower what bills they can. Again, there’s truth in that. None of us want to pay more, particularly when the cost of everything seems to be rising a whole lot faster than paychecks.
But I think the real reason that the budgets are getting clobbered is that we generally don’t feel as if we are getting the information we need before we agree to pay so much more. Sure, the town puts budget information online, but it’s presented in a way that only an accountant could love. And nowhere do we get simple data on the questions people are always asking – how much do employees make? What kind of health care do they get and how much do they pay? What kind of pensions are we handing out and how much does that cost each year? And on the education side, we really want to see much more, because it does seem preposterous that the charges go up so much every year while student numbers stay relatively stable. Explain that to us, please, in painstaking detail.
I’m a supporter of the schools, a backer of the budget, a yes voter to my core. But I’m also confused and upset that my neighbors have so many questions and there are so few answers. Relying on us to trust our elected leaders obviously isn’t enough to get a spending plan passed.
Give us some help, town council members. Let’s delve into the details, school board members. Make it possible for those who want to see the required spending supported to sell skeptical friends, neighbors and others.
I know this place has been unreliable for months, not dead but not alive either. But after the resounding defeat of the budget once again this year, I do feel that we need somewhere to talk through these issues more seriously and with less partisanship than other sites seem to have.
So I’m going to try. I don’t blame any for skepticism, of course, but check in once in awhile and perhaps we can pump life back into this erstwhile corpse of a blog.