Before I follow-up on last week’s column, let me review the IIF again.
The three years I was on the FinCom:
- Town Meeting in 2015, I was the sole member who opposed adding $1,400,000 to the tax bills to fund the IIF, click here
- I supported the Selectemen’s goal to the Town Manager to eliminate the IIF in the fall of 2015, click here. As Selectman Anthony Renzoni said in the Landmark “The IIF puts too much government between the people and their money, …it has served its purpose and is not needed anymore.” Could not have agreed more!
- The Selectmen, however, changed their position and opted to fund a study, which I opposed
The IIF put control of taxpayer monies into the hands of 7 unelected citizens and not the taxpayers, who cares what the study would say? This never made sense to me, the study never happened and in the end the IIF, in fact, was eliminated.
Can I dare say that I was correct?
Going forward I would like to watch these FINCOM meetings on Television, especially the one tonight on the School Budget, and make further commentary. \
FINCOM holds their meeting at the HMLD, however, where there are no cameras. Instead we need to rely on the minutes , but the last one I can find on-line is from April 20, 2016? As a taxpayer the most important thing is the budget and we do not hold meetings and record them at either the Town Hall or the Senior Center (where cameras are set-up), which one can watch any time they want, but have them at the HMLD with minutes, when posted on line, are not that detailed?
It is not like half of our entire 50+ million dollar budget goes to the School Department (it does), but unless you are able to make it to the HMLD department tonight at 7, you are out of luck.
Does this make any sense???
Now to review last week, but remember you may need these two links for the FY19 budget:
Up through the Town Meeting of 2015, the certified assessed value from the prior year was used to calculate the proposed tax rate to fund the budget at Town Meeting. Starting in 2016, we did not use the prior year certified value (2015), but increased the the prior year certified value.
My point is not that we should go back to the way we did it as recently as the Town Meeting in 2015. For budgetary purposes we should only be working with certified property valuations at Town Meeting, when the valuations are certified in the fall then adjust the rate?
As long as we only increase it a conservative amount, it will not be a problem, but I just feel that we should only work with certified numbers at Town Meeting?
SEWER RATE LAWSUIT
To date we have spent approximately $1,000,000 on this lawsuit.
I need some clarification here, but I believe the current lawsuit only concerns the the rate the City of Worcester has been charging the Town of Holden under the current 20 year contract that expires this year (2018). The current lawsuit will not set a rate for the new 20 year contract starting this year, we need to negotiate that new rate for the next 20 years with the City of Worcester. That is the way I understand it and will try to confirm.
If this is the case maybe we should consider not spending any more monies (450,000 budgeted for FY19 on legal fees), negotiate a favorable rate for the next 20 years and drop the lawsuit saving us $450,000 in legal bills??