Four years ago I began my one and only three term, which was my plan, on the Finance Committee. It was a great experience, learned alot about the Town of Holden and encourage anyone else to consider being on this board. Besides learning that the the town is very well run and in great financial condition, I learned about the budget process; for example;
- How to go through the budget book?
- How to read the Resource Profile (page 15 of budget book, the summary of the entire budget book)?
This year I am not on the Finance Committee and I had thought that I would continue to take what I had learned and follow the budget process from my house or office, but realize now that is impossible under the current management of the Finance Committee by our Town Moderator. Besides running Town Meeting, many taxpayers do not realize the other main responsibility of the Town Moderator is to appoint members to the Finance Committee. Please note that this is the only committee that the Town Moderator appoints.
Although the Finance Committee Meetings could be televised at two other locations that are equipped to record the meetings, the meetings are held at the Holden Light Department, which ironically is off the grid. As a result, there are no Finance Committee meetings on Local Access Television for the Holden taxpayer to watch.
The next logical step would be to read the board minutes. In my effort to review those minutes I found they had not been posted on-line for over 2 years. After this issue was pointed out and two years of back minutes were uploaded, please review the January Finance Committee that lasted one hour and 45 minutes. Now review the minutes taken at the Board of Selectmen Meeting the same month that lasted 32 minutes . The difference is startling.
The Finance Committee should incorporate into their budget the hiring of a professional to take the minutes, just like the Selectmen have done. The truth is the only way you can follow the budget process now in the Town of Holden is to attend the meetings of the Finance Committee at the Holden Municipal Light Department (HLD) in person, since there is no recordings or accurate minutes of the meetings.
Mr Ethier believes the Finance Committee is very important committee budgeting the taxpayer’s monies and will only appoint members that will:
- Have the meetings at a location that will be televised.
- Include the hiring of professional in their budget to transcribe the minutes.
In order to get more people to participate and understand the mechanics of the town finances, we need more transparency and more attention to the process. This is the 2nd reason the Worcester Herald endorses Tim Ethier to be the next Town Moderator in Holden.
201 Cranbrook Drive