LETTER: TCC Budgets Bad For Tiverton
Budget Committee member Christopher Cotta writes a letter to the editor.
To the Editor:
We have a new group in Tiverton – Tiverton 1st. Parents, grandparents, single folks, young and old have joined together to fight for a positive future for Tiverton. Tiverton 1st has done their due diligence to recommend a talented slate of candidates for local offices. I strongly support their candidates who are all dedicated to working together to solve issues – what a welcome breath of fresh air!
For the last four years we have been subjected to the slick, well-financed campaigns of the TCC telling us that it’s the TCC who will be fiscally responsible and “heal the divide” in Tiverton. Well, actions speak louder than words.
Fiscally responsible? Consider the budget proposed for the FTR by TCC President Dave Nelson. You know, the budget that proposed $600K in unjustified cuts to the schools, increased the municipal operations budget by 4.6% but failed to provide fire protection to one third of the town, raided our General Fund below legal limits, and projected bogus revenues from unidentified sources.
A majority of the Town Council proposing to give itself a spending increase of 4.6% is bad enough, but to pay for it on the backs of your children and grandkids educational future, using up your savings and claiming that extra money will magically just appear is not only indefensible but down right irresponsible.
Healing the divide? After stripping the schools of legally appropriated funds, forcing the matter to the State Supreme Court (all at great expense to you as a taxpayer), only to be denied, Nelson and the TCC have the “brass” to tell angry residents that they want to work together? Then, to demonstrate their desire to heal, they propose cutting the school budget by the same $600K!
And it’s not just the Schools. The TCC Council was alerted to the deplorable condition of our fire equipment, yet decided to forgo replacements in order to fund less critical needs. Rather than working together to resolve differences, the TCC took great offense that the Budget Committee wouldn’t do as the TCC wanted and resorted to accusing us of abusing our power. Similarly, your TCC-led council, who pushed so hard for the FTR, recently decided to spend money on a sewer study and a pump outboat – even though YOU as voters rejected both items in the final budget. The FTR was approved so that all voters could have a say on the budget, yet the TCC isn’t willing to abide by the voters decisions when they don’t get what they want. Did you know that TCC candidates Katz, Hollenbach and O’Dell are still actively suing our town to overturn the 2010 budget vote? Are these actions that bring the town together? Do you feel healed?
The TCC has continually slandered many hard working advocates in town because taxes have risen sharply. Yes, when a community builds three new schools, at a cost of some $30 million, and has over $2 million in state revenue cut, taxes will go up. No one was more vocal about the proposed spike in tax increases prior to the bonds than I, yet when the community adopted the small school concept and approved the new debt, your Budget Committee did everything in its power to implement the wishes of the majority that prevailed and mitigate the effect of the lost state revenue without looking back and complaining.
Do you really want to elect TCC candidates who will to continue this devastating divide and conquer at all costs strategy? I don’t. On November 6th I will be voting for Tiverton 1st candidates and I truly hope that you do too.
Chair, Tiverton Budget Committee