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Letter: Tiverton Budget Fact and Fantasy

Mike Burk, chairman of the Tiverton Democratic Town Committee, writes a letter to the editor.

To the Editor:

Tiverton voters, on May 15 please approve Budget Resolution 1 as recommended by the Tiverton Budget Committee. 

Why? It is the only budget that was publicly developed, and is based on sound budgeting principles and sound revenue projections. Contrarily, the Nelson budget was privately developed, never vetted, and uses phantom revenue streams never before heard of!

Some fantasies and facts:

FANTASY: The Budget Committee didn’t listen to town departments and the Town Council.

FACT: The Budget Committee held weekly hearings and site visits, publically met with the town administrator three times and the department heads and invited the Town Council to speak to their concerns. The Town Council never did.

FANTASY: The Budget Committee rubber stamped the school district budget.

FACT: The Budget Committee reduced the School District’s original budget request by $670,000. 

FANTASY: The Nelson Budget increases the tax levy by only 1.1 percent.

FACT: Through smoke and mirrors by raiding $200,000 from the town’s reserve fund, putting it below the charter required minimum of 3 percent of next year’s budget and creating two new phantom revenue streams for another $200,000!

FANTASY: The Budget Committee’s budget “de-funds” the landfill account.

FACT: Rather than tax us twice for the same thing, the Budget Committee determined that the Pay As You Throw program revenue is sufficient to cover the funds needed for this account for next year. 

FANTASY: The Nelson Budget was thoroughly and publicly vetted.

FACT: Mr. Nelson had every opportunity at the to provide his methods for determining his budget. He refused to do so. He refused to tell us how he came up with his $200,000 in phantom revenue and why he was raiding the general fund. Why couldn’t he give us those details – I can only think it is because, like the children’s story, the emperor has no clothes!

Vote to approve Budget Resolution #1 on May 5. Thank you.

Mike Burk
Chairman, Tiverton Democratic Town Committee

Joe Sousa. May 08, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Again the arrows fly. We all need to remember the reason it is so expensive to educate our children. The State legislature mandates we spend money on programs yet provides little funding for them. State aid has not increased with costs. In recent years it has been reduced. The mandate relief we ask for year after year falls on deaf ears up state as union bosses turn the screws. The system has been turned in to a make work program squandering resources needed to educate our children. Till more people get involved in demanding resolve little will change. People vote their pocket book because they see the waste and abuse. The legislature is where we should be aiming our arrows
Jim L May 08, 2012 at 11:18 AM
where is the landfill money going to? Mr Burke?Are you speaking for the TDTC or yourself, how did removing the former treasurary effect or prove anything? Is the money you say was cut the money the town was taking for repairing the septic and the bricks?
Renee Cwiek May 08, 2012 at 11:25 AM
No one's going to be 100% happy. It's just not possible. I think the budget committee was fair and took the time to look and speak to every department. To be fair I don't really know much about what all the departments need or don't need, but what really really really put me off was watching Mr. Nelson avoid answering questions at the May 1 meeting. Why does the town council have a budget committee if they're not going to have any confidence in them?
Just Another Taxpayer May 08, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Jim L, obviously you have not been paying attention to what is going on. The Budget Committee's Budget Proposal is estimating the Landfill Closure Account will receive an estimated $500,000 during FY 13. These funds are generated by the "Pay as you throw" tax that was implemented by the current TC. This amount is considerably higher than the $168,000 which currently be placed in the LCA for FY12. The rest of your post doesn't make any sense so I can't respond to whatever it is you are trying to say.
Jane Doe May 08, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Easter bunny Burk - everybody should remember his Easter bunny nonsense - is one of the reasons I voted for the FTR. The thought that this red shirt zealot would be the next Moderator making critical decisions was of great concern. Thank God we don't have listen to his constant hogging the microphone with his inane narcissistic chatter. Go away Mike, stop trolling for problems, and leave Easter alone. BTW the Recycling Committee adamantly opposed the $168,000 cut this year as does the Council. SUPPORT NELSON'S BUDGET AND SEE YOUR TAX RATE DROP ALMOST 30 CENTS LOWER THAN THE BUDGET COMMITTEE'S $18.90. Oh yeh. I am still waiting for BD and Just another Taxpayer to tell me on what page of the Docket the voters can find the proposed salaries for the School Committee members. They can't because the Budget Committee either goofed or they showed preferential treatment to the red shirts and left it out.
Jim L May 08, 2012 at 01:55 PM
if the landfill is doing that well it would make much more sence to remove PAYT, it costs some familys $10.00 dollars a week, and you didn't say where the money was going?I have seen no comments on here from mike burke about the FTR or the budget up till now! Does here speak for the TDTC or for himself? I for one would like to know, and what are the TDTC feeling on the other questions on the ballot?I will give him credit for using his name, but maybe he's really just another taxpayer? Who Knows?
Just Another Taxpayer May 08, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Jim L, you can't eliminate the "Pay as you throw" tax because those funds(approx. $500,000) will be placed in the land fill closure account. The $168,000 which is currently be paid for by the taxpayers will be eliminated.
Just Another Taxpayer May 08, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Nancy, apparently you can't read because I explained it to you before in an earlier post. Teacher salaries have never been part of the docket. Talking about the Easter Bunny is play #1 out of the TCC Playbook, attack the messenger when you can't defend your position with actual facts. Nelson's Alternate Budget cuts the School Department's budget by $587,000 while increasing municipal spending by $400,000.
Jim L May 08, 2012 at 02:28 PM
and what if it is needed, if your looking to give the taxpayers a break then give them a $500.000 break not a 168,000 break, And mr Cotta says at the budget meeting or ftr meeting he doesn't want to raise taxes, but does just that will more money for the schools, evenmentioning that they have the highest co pay around, well if we as taxpayers are the ones eating that rate raise then are we not giving a form of pay raise?This is the time that the budget's should be looked ar by all the taxpayers and ask any questions they want, and they should be answered by a REAL person, not an unknown advocate with who has a hidden purpose in mind
Tiverton Parent May 08, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Wow-the personal attacks to overshadow the facts are insulting to anyone who wishes to debate the facts. Grow up people!
Just Another Taxpayer May 08, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Jim L, did you attend the May 1st meeting? That was your opportunity to ask questions of both Mr. Cotta or Mr. Nelson.
Dan D May 08, 2012 at 06:23 PM
$10 a week? that is a heck of a lot of trash. 150 gallons a week! Wowsers, maybe people need to learn how to manage their trash better. I spend less than $10 a month on trash, but my recycle bins are filled to the brim almost every week.
Joe Sousa. May 08, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Jane Doe, The money paid to Elected Officials would be shown on the Municipal side . I think you need to actually read the budget.
Renee Cwiek May 08, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Jane, it looks like Joe answered your question! It's so nice to have someone that you know is actually on the budget committee and will at least answer the questions posted without being a Joe Doe. Thank you for answering that question Joe.
BD May 08, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Kudos, Joe. I would recommend that all the TCC'ers actually read the budget and understand the process before having an opinion on it. Of course, it's much easier to regurgitate Robbie's talking points without understanding them. Case in point: poor Joan was asked to read the same talking point last Tuesday at the "hearing" and it didn't end well.
Denise May 08, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Jane Doe...are you wondering about School Committee members who make $1200 per year? Why didn't you just ask a school Committe member? Mrs. Pallasch and Mrs. Black donate their stipends to the Tiverton Education Fund. Is it possible they are included in the stipend section on the school dept. budget? I don't think it's a conspiracy . Teacher salaries are listed under regular salaries as a whole dollar amount. That section actually decreased by $57,387 this year. Also, for the record voting for #2 does not drop the tax rate by $0.30. It is a difference of $0.30. a difference that is reached by using reserve funds to offset the the 4.6% increase in municipal spending. Capital letters do not make it true.
Mike Burk May 08, 2012 at 10:51 PM
I never sign my name as TDTC Chairman unless my committee has voted to support an issue - a committee that is duly elected by our fellow Democrats every two years. As I stated at the Budget Committee meeting and the Financial Town Hearing, on April 30th the TDTC fully voted to support the budget as recommended by the Budget Committee . Oh, and even though it is not a part of this debate, I still believe in the separation of church and state.
Joe Sousa. May 08, 2012 at 11:15 PM
American Communist Liberals United Santa don't stand a chance ! No Raine deer parking on public property !

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