Sunday, March 28, 2010

Let's talk taxes

Guest editorial by Jim Pierce

Harvey is a good friend of mine. Counting his ears, he’s about six feet tall. He’s very busy around Easter, but, he tends to be invisible especially around Town Meeting and local elections. After making a movie with Jimmy Stewart in 1950 and playing on Broadway for several years with Art Carney, Harvey retired to Sandwich. His property is assessed at about $315K. As a result he pays about $4,000/year in property taxes. When you put those numbers together with the invisibility, Harvey is pretty much an average Sandwich taxpayer.

Harvey collects about $1,500/month from Social Security and has a pension from his theater days of about $3,500. The household income of $60K per year is about average for Sandwich. He pays Uncle Sam about $6,000/year. When sales tax is added to Harvey’s state income tax, Uncle Robin Hood up on Beacon Hill gets about $3,500. Harvey’s on Medicare, so health insurance hasn’t been a problem so far.

Like many of us, Harvey gets very excited when he gets to be one of more than 100 million votes to send someone to the White House. He even gets reasonably excited if a special election comes up and he can be one of a couple million votes sending a senator to Washington. When he can be one of 100,000 votes electing a congressman or one of ten to twenty thousand sending a representative to Beacon Hill, he pays some attention. But, it’s totally ho-hum when he could be one of less than 500 at Town Meeting or one of a few thousand at the local ballot box.

Harvey’s enthusiasm for voting is in proportion to the potential influence of the candidate. It’s hard to convince Harvey that it makes more sense to participate when his vote can have the most influence.

But, this was supposed to be about taxes. Harvey should never be discouraged from voting in elections that influence how much money flows to Capital Hill or Beacon Hill. Once the money is over the hill, so to speak, Harvey has little control over how it is spent. However, he needs to exercise the leverage he has locally with care. There is even a little solace to be taken from the fact that on average every dollar in property taxes is 20 cents (for Harvey it’s only 10) that doesn’t go to Washington.

In fiscal year 2011 Sandwich will raise about $45 million from property taxes. That money will be spent locally. Town Meeting determines how it is spent. It’s tempting to vote against everything. Please don’t do that! There is a useful rule of thumb. The way the math works, every million dollars added to the operating budget adds about $100 to Harvey’s tax bill. So, if there is a $250,000 appropriation on the warrant, it will cost Harvey $25. The question then becomes; is the proposed service worth $2/month?

Bond issues are different. If a warrant article proposes borrowing $6 million to be paid back over ten years, then at today’s rates the annual interest and principal would be about $700,000. The impact on Harvey’s tax bill is about $70/year or $6/month. One can argue against taking on that debt on the grounds that it costs Harvey $700 over ten years. Or, one can do like the children’s charities on TV: “For a mere twenty cents a day you can…” Harvey is smart enough to sort that out and vote based on the value received for his tax dollars.

Will Harvey do some homework and come to Town Meeting on May 3rd? Will he get to know the candidates and cast a ballot on May 6th? I see Harvey quite often, I’ll ask. Hmmm, maybe this selectman gig is more stressful than I thought. Or, maybe I need to lay off the red wine.

Jim Pierce
Sandwich, MA

49 comments:

  1. Harvey will also want to consider if his tax dollars are paying for actual goods or services OR if his additional tax dollars are simply being used to temporarily plug the gap between the growth of tax revenues and the growth of municipal expenses (eg the structural deficit).

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  2. When Harvey does his homework, he will realize that the repeated use of this argument(borrow $6 mil now so the town can spend it now and pay only the bargain rate $6 per month for 10 years) is tired and unpersuasive. Does translating management's failure into a relatively modest monthly payment make it less of a failure? What about the $7 campaign next year and the $8 the year after and so on? The words "cummulative effect" come to mind. And this is all on top of the yearly tax increase that comes under Prop 2.5 anyway. Harvey's social security and his pension will probably not rise similarly so, as time goes by, he is digging a hole. He's smarter than that.

    Jim, the numbers you use suggest this little story is all about your support for a tax increase (a debt exclusion) for funding for deferred capital asset maintenance. I, for one, do vote and cannot support raising my taxes for this subject until I learn a lot more. If there were only a couple of buildings involved, I would be quicker to understand. However, this is nothing short of a crises and no way to run a business or a government. Right now, we are told what repairs will cost, but we don't know if making them is smart spending. I would very much appreciate knowing how and why management allowed this to happened, who is responsible, what are the consequences for those responsible and how will taxpayers be assured it will not recur?

    It's a lot more than just the 6 bucks a month.

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  3. Fill in the blank Harvey, "Seventy cents of every dollar that you pay the town of Sandwich in property taxation goes to________"

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  4. A prop 2 1/2 override is usually used to plug the gap between tax revenues and municipal expenses. The point is usually to maintain existing services. The limits of prop 2 1/2 make this difficult when union contracts and benefits grow at a much higher percentage. I appreciate the fact that municipal unions took a zero for two years in a row, but by allocating additional money to prevent personnel cuts this year, we've set ourselves up for difficulty next year when they are scheduled to get a 3% raise. Not sure why it wouldn't make sense to make some difficult decisions this year. What was the point of reviewing core services in the long range plan if nothing was going to be done?

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  5. Excellent Point! It's definitelty the school's fault. It has nothing to do with poor planning, lousy zoning, or a long-standing anti-business attitude.

    In fact, I heard it was the Superintendent that decided to build police & fire HQ in the marsh.

    Well, thank God we don't have any industry cluttering up our industrial park. I would hate to ruin the view for those taxpayers moving into Dana's Field ... what? They don't pay taxes?

    I hope Harvey gets out this year, asks some questions, and actually votes -- instead of just sitting in his burrow bitching!!

    More anonymous wisdom!

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  6. The thoughtful responses received so far are appreciated. Yes, I do favor a debt exclusion to deal with deteriorating infrastructure. That is not a secret. I said so in a letter published in the Enterprise last Friday. I also spoke in favor of holding off until the fall for two reasons. It will give thoughtful people time to understand the matter. The issue wont be buried in the middle of a 30+ article warrant. As a devout pragmatist I like to solve problems. If figuring out how the problem came about or who to blame contributes to the solution or to preventing recurrence, then I'm all for it. However, finding the right person to tar and feather will not stop leaks in the school roof.

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  7. It is tempting to ignore anonymous input. But, bashful people need love, too.

    Anon #1, probably fills that blank with the word "schools"; probably pronounced with a derogatory inflection or deliberately mispronounced a la Rush. I prefer "education". When adjusted for Chapter 70 aid and School Building Authority funding, the number is more like 63 cent/dollar. What should the number be?

    Anon #2, asks a very good question; why did we review core services? For me it served to point out that we already have too few public safety employees. A look at the contingency plan to cut now would eliminate a couple of valued departments. It pointed out that we are subsidizing solid waste disposal to the tune of $650,000, the equivalent of 10-12 employees. In addition it pointed out that we are paying another $150,000, another 2-3 employees, to haul away trash we should be recycling. If we get our ducks in a row and capture some of that, then we can maintain current service levels.

    Anon #3, although dripping with sarcasm, hit the nail right on the head. Harvey and 14,999 other voters don't show up at Town Meeting. Until they come down out of the cheap seats and get into the game, they should stop bitching.

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  8. There are numerous steps that a well run organization can take short of finding a scapegoat for tarring and feathering. Yes, it is essential for taxpayers to know how and why this crisis developed. Please don't try to "stop the leaks in the school roof" until you assure us that accountability is a concept the public sector understands.

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  9. To be fair, in your second point above Jim, I don’t think that its wholly accurate to suggest that the town is “subsidizing” solid waste processing at the Transfer Station.

    We taxpayers are paying for trash removal with our tax dollars AND our sticker fee. Thats not a subsidy thats a choice.

    If the Selectmen choose to collect a fee to throw trash that fee is the equivalent of a tax increase; albeit one the voters didn’t get to approve at the ballot box.

    Increasing town revenues via the imposition of new fees for services isn’t really the same as reducing expenses or operating more efficiently. I should know I once supported fees on the school side of the budget - a position I now regret taking as it was a mistake.

    While the result of the pay as you throw program, increased recycling and maintaining service levels might well be the right and best thing to do for the town and its taxpayers, lets not sell this as money saving or anything of the like. Its cost shifting and it’s a user tax.

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  10. About Mr. Pierce's comments about those who do not vote that they should bitch until the get involved.

    This is truly a stupid statement. Many people frankly do not have the time, yes, believe it or not, having children can take your time. My children are not here today and I have the time to write this little ditty, but frankly, going out to town meeting will cost me money and for what. I can take a copy of the Warrant and go over each article and tell you which one will pass and which one will not.

    I volunteer at school, I volunteer at church and I quite frankly don't have the time to bitch, but here I am doing it.

    Since you are retired and seem to have enough time, I am told, to go to all the school committee meetings, then stop all this talk, on this blog and at all Selectmen meetings and just find a company that wants to come to Sandwich. Find a location. Change the zoning quickly at a special town meeting and get the project done.

    Please, don't insult those who bitch but can not get involved. I wanted to speak at a School Committe meeting early last fall, but after seeing thoughtful people bullied by the chairman, I decided not to speak. You all are very into yourselves and really do not listen. If you are truly a pragmatist then get companies in here and get them quick. Don't take months to make decisions or rather years.

    Kelly Lake

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  11. Oh, and for Mr. Guerin's comment on the sticker fees being a tax, I agree, but I would ask whether he considers athletic fees, transportation fees, and other fees presented to us by the school committee to be a tax?

    I think he was right, but he did not do anything about it when he had the chance. I still pay fees for my children, a young married couple next door don't have to pay it.

    Kelly Lake

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  12. Dear Ms. Lake:
    In my last post (see above) I said that the imposition of school fees was a mistake.
    If elected to the School Committee I will not support the imposition of any fees for any reason.
    If provided the opportunity, I will vote to repeal all current fees.
    Of course, if fees were eliminated, then the school operating budget would need to be reduced (cut) by an equal amount OR town meeting (the taxpayers) would need to vote additional moneys to the schools to make up the fee revenue shortfall.
    I think this is a better (and fairer) budgeting process than to continue to let town boards and committees arbitrarily impose fees and raise revenues without Town Meeting and Taxpayer consent.

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  13. Thank you to anonymous who posted on March 30 that I was stupid. It's good to be reminded of that now and then.

    In the note Anon demonstrated awareness of two of the town's problems. Maybe three if I'm actually stupid. Anon knows that we need more businesses and that zoning is one of the barriers. She is aware of the glacial pace of change in our fair hamlet. She also attended a School Committee meeting and didn't like what she saw.

    Town Meeting and the ballot box are the places to change those things. Anon, we need you and a couple thousand like you to find a way to get out and vote.

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  14. Mr. Guerin I am not Ms. I am Mrs.

    Mr. Pierce. Please read what I had written, and you will see that I did not call you stupid. What I did was called your comment stupid and it was.

    Kelly Lake

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  15. Ms.Lake:
    The title Ms. was first suggested as a convenience to writers of letters by the Bulletin of the American Business Writing Association (1951) and The Simplified Letter, issued by the National Office Management Association (1952).

    The form Ms. or Ms is now widely used in both professional and social contexts. Thus the term stands as a highly successful language reform—probably because people value its usefulness. As a courtesy title, Ms. serves exactly the same function as Mr. does for men, and like Mr. it may be used with a last name alone or with a full name: Ms. Jones; Ms. Miriam V. Jones.

    Using Ms. obviates the need for the guesswork involved in figuring out whether to address someone as Mrs. or Miss: you can’t go wrong with Ms. Whether the woman you are addressing is married or unmarried, has changed her name or not, Ms. is always correct. And the beauty of Ms. is that this information becomes irrelevant, as it should be—and as it has always been for men.

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  16. MR Guerin sounds like a politician using big words with a fancy flair in writing. He is also too sensitive. Frankly I don't care about what his bullitens say about the use of Ms or Mrs, but I do care about how I am addressed. I thought I was very polite in just saying that I was not a Ms and was a Mrs. I do it many times each month. It is no big deal.

    Lets talk about taxes and how the Schools are killing the public with waste such as drapes, talve rentals, overnights for teachers, hiring asstant superindendent when there was no money and people knew there was no money except for the school committee, over budgeting heating costs, and then firing so many good people and replacing them with people who can't keep up with the work.

    Mrs. Lake

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  17. There, Kelly, that should clear things up for'ya.

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  18. Mrs. Lake:
    I am a product of the public school system of Ma. My use of “big words with a fancy flair in writing” is something I learned from great public school teachers doing great work. I hope that all of our Sandwich students have the same opportunity I did to learn the same important life skills.

    You first chose to correct my use of the term Ms and now I am “too sensitive” when I respond to your criticism and provide a specific, fact-based rationale? Interesting.

    Yes, let’s talk about taxes and how the Schools are “killing the public” with waste. I think the high school auditorium is a public resource and should be equipped with curtains. Basic maintenance is not waste. This was money well spent.

    I agree that the much discussed table rentals and table clothes were unnecessary and wasteful. It’s too bad that in every public discussion of our schools mission and it’s $30+ million dollar budget such a small expenditure becomes the focus.

    Overnight hotel stays, while infrequent, are a necessary expense to help further teacher training. Just 5 or so years ago the State criticized our Sandwich Schools for a lack of teacher training and a less than robust curriculum. On going teacher training and investment in curriculum development is a required and necessary expenditure of taxpayer moneys.

    The District has had an assistant superintendent and or curriculum director since the 90's. The last three (3) Superintendents have had an assistant superintendent and or curriculum director as part of their Administration team. I think this is an important position and I am concerned that once again the position has been eliminated.

    I have a long record of questioning the schools budgeting practices, including specifically heating costs and utilities line items.

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  19. I stand by what I said about the big words. I too want the young people in Sandwich to have an excellent education. I too want programs that would go to this end, but I don't want wasting money and yes I do find renting curtains a waste especially in the cafeteria.

    Small money, eh! Well $10,000 from the Super when maybe she could have either (as he contract allows) banked the time, or maybe even approach the school committee that would say she could get the money at a later date. It just does not look good. Have you thought about why our school system is always in the Cape Cod Times and always in a negative way.

    Someone told me that you were running for school committee again. Thats fine, you are bright, artidulate and sometimes have a sense of humor.

    Please please tell the people why you did not work to move voting in the Super when you knew it was wrong not to give the public a shot. If she was so good, then one or two more weeks may have been OK I saw your face that night and believe me, I can read faces and you did not like what was going on.

    I hope in your campaign you either support or not support her for the public becase believe it or not, the public is not going to take her much longer.

    Sorry not to be as eloquent as you, but I never had much of an education but I hope my kids do.

    All this because I asked you to call me Mrs.

    I plan to vote for you.

    Mrs. Lake

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  20. Mr. Guerin, I may vote for you just because you're right about "Ms." ;)

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  21. Good Morning Mr. Hunt It would seem that we have a sitting Selectman who has spent a great deal of time observing how town government works and that is great. As one who has believed in the democratic rules of law I find it hard to swallow, that some can simplify the way we the taxpayers get to appreciate the raising of our taxes each year. It goes with out saying that this incrimental cost for operating town government has its good and bad sides. When Mr. Pierce can expound upon his fortunes of an average $60,000 per year to live on here in Sandwich and then look at us that are lucky enough to survive on less then half of that number he may get a better understanding that a mere increase can have very serious ramifications to those on the lower end of those increases to operating town government. The increasing of any tax for any purpose needs to be done with due dilligance and just to increase any tax just to make your self feel good about doing a progect, needs to be done with more heart and soul, along with justifing the expence to forfill a goal that benifits the whole town and not just one element of its society. Sandwich has spent Millions of dollars doing studies over the years and tell me has the town received the benifit or have those that have done the study been the benifactor? You may not like what my answer may be, but given past history we need to evaluate how we perform these studies and be even more aware what Sandwich can do once the studies are paid for and just sit collecting dust.

    Can Sandwich save taxpayers money by having an outside vendor do the pick up and recycling of trash . Absolutly and if one wanted to justify any other approach they need to compare the actual present cost to the Town and taxpayer over a 10 or 20 year cycle where they look at all associated costs with site managenment,personal,gas,long term health cost and retirement benifts one would soon change an opinion about supporting a pay as you go program. One could also include the possible benifit of revenue by leasing the present transfer station for a loing term contract as well.

    Carl Johansen

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  22. Mr. Johansen, you really ought to run for office. You have a great mind when it comes to the operation of government in Sandwich.

    I agree with you and would add that sometimes somone who makes $100,000 per year has the expenses to go with the income, and, sometimes, that person loses his or her job, and, sometimes they make less money than they had because the economy is in termoil.

    You make more sense than some of our leaders, not all, just some. Its time for new faces on the school board, the selectmen office, the finance committee and all other committees where someone has been on for a term.

    Joe Q. Public

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  23. Mr. Public I truely appreciate your kind words, but in all serious I would become very restrictive in how and what I could say.
    I have since I have made my home here in Sandwich have been approached with folks that may feel the same way you do. In my life time I served on many boards for may different type involvments in the community at large and it became clear to me that my best approach was to be as neutral and honest as I can. I will be the first one to tell you that I am not perfect and given my many past experiences being part of any Town committee at this time in my life would restrict when and how I may say what is on my mind.

    We all evaluate problems in different ways, but once you get placed on any board or committee, making comments in public , with out the general approval of the board or committee you serve on or even haveing dicussed with your fellow TEAM members can result in more negitive confrontation. This confrontation will eventually result in nothing getting accomplished, no matter the priority. So for now forgive me for attempting to provide some questions of concerns that would never be asked of the good citizens of Sandwich on how do they see our fair going into the future. Some times I also will provide answers after I have done due dilligance to the question I present.

    Carl Johansen

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  24. ........in any event, Harvey wll get to one of two conclusions. He will shrug his shoulders conceding that that is the way taxation goes in Sandwich or Harvey will get mad as a hornet discovering he pays $10 a thousand of property evaluation in taxes and still pays a fee for vitually every service he seeks. Go to the dump? Pay again. Go to the beach? Pay again. Own a dog? Pay again. Need an ambulance? Pay again (albiet an insurance comapny charge). Want to take a book out at the library? Pay again. Schools? An enigma and king of the shell game. Should I go on? No need to, you all get the point............I think

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  25. Peter is getting a 3% raise in the next two fiscal years. Peter took a 0 for two years and has been rewarded by being able to keep his job and see his budget go up by around 1%. Meanwhile, we wait for Harvey's decision. However, this much is known: Harvey's budget is reduced to -1%. This means a number of Harvey's co-workers will lose their jobs this year. If Harvey doesn't take a 0, the number of staff cuts increases. If Chapter 70 is reduced, the number of staff cuts increases even more. Who has done more to address the structural deficit in the long run?

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  26. Are we children that we must talk about Harvey.

    I believe that there will be precious little actual loss of jobs because those jobs are being vacated through natural attrition. And, some of these jobs should have been eliminaed years ago.

    Mr.& Mrs.errrrrrr, Ms John Q Private

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  27. Are we to believe that these posters actually think that school employees (aka Peter) have been purposefully DOING NOTHING in terms of contract concessions and or negotiations as a part of a grand gesture to address the town’s deficits?
    Isn’t that like arguing that Nero was really trying to train firefighters when he burnt Rome? He meant no harm and gee look at all the new construction he necessitated.
    Likewise, does anyone really believe that town employees (aka Harvey) or the Boards seriously think taking a “0” actually solves the structural deficit either?
    Look at the town’s municipal salary line item the last time these generous folks took a zero – Surprise! The payroll still increased and lots! Only in the public sector is zero always more than nothing.
    Unless and until EVERY contract in town is written so that no salary can ever increase at an annual rate that exceeds the actual growth of town revenues will the deficit problem be near to solved.
    THEN, somebody will still have to “fix” the problem with the cost of the town’s health and retirement plans. That’s right these costs also increase at an annual rate that exceeds the actual growth of town revenues.

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  28. Think about what was written for a moment,"...actual growth of town revenues..." Is there any "growth" in Sandwich revenues? There lies one answer to the structural deficit problem looming.

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  29. Good Morning Mr. Hunt It is a little refreshing to see that some here do in fact understand what the structual deficit affect has on how the town of Sandwich operates. Some how a balance must be obtained in those areas that affect the bottom line for every one. Workers and Taxpayers must realize that at what point do we go forward with out making changes. Where is the breaking point? If Harvey was to determine that sharing more of the costs of health and welfare packages with the taxpayers was benificial, then the structual deficit would not be as great going forward. Unfortunatly that is not about to happen unless the Commonwealth passes a law that all Harveys must pay an equal amount of the cost for such benifits. How can the good town of Sandwich continue to upgrade, schools, roads,town offices, with out a funding source? To simplify that answer, one would assure that the cost now being paid by the taxpayer be automatically at the disposal of the town for such purposes.

    Now Harvey and his brother Peter may not be happy about this happening, but long term, that is what each of us must look at as citizens. We are all in this together and perhaps if enough thought is given to the outcome we all can live instead of just surviving.


    Carl Johansen

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  30. The answer to anonymous on April 7 about "are we to believe.... The answer is no, they are doing everything in their power to see that they get a raise in their new contract. After all, their step is only a few percentage points increase. Oh my God!! While others scrape, work (if they can find a job), the teachers are looking for More more more.

    By the way, to those in the School administration, I am sorry if I offended you by using God, but I do believde in God, and yes, we are still free to speak I think.

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  31. The good news is amongst the 20 or so Boards or committees Sandwich has, we now have another layer of government with the passing of the Sandwich Economic Initiative Corporation. It sounds good.

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  32. Joe Q. Public's April 6, 2010, 2:25 PM posting is correct. Incumbents need to be tossed out. They have had their chance to solve some of the bigger promblems and have failed to act as leaders. We need new blood and ideas, especially at the Selectmen and School Committee levels.

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  33. I suspect that these "throw the bums out" postings reflect real frustrations. But, they're so simplistic and simple minded that they’re laughable. They are at best bumper sticker logic. Catchy, entertaining and sometimes humorous they are...........but if that’s really how these anonymous posters decide who to vote for and think others should decide the same way then God help us and our town.

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  34. The last post stating "God help us all" (anonymous) must be someone running for office who is already in office. The truth is that sometimes simple things are refreshing and throwing out those in office would go to that end, but just some of them, the ones that are nasty at meetings, knock individuals with their private emails, put down those who try to question Superintendents, these are the ones that should be put out. If someone votes for a pay raise that we can't afford and then cries because they are not getting enough money, then they need to be thrown out. This is simple truth.
    The cause of our money problems in part is that the School committee would all jump off the Sagamore bridge if the Superintendent said it would help the children, at least four of them anyway. People like Linehan, Marshall and sometimes Killion at least try to stand up for the public. They are often too polite for the job, but at least they get it, that they serve all of the people all of the time whether they havce children in school or not, and the do so with the children always first. God bless these three. Let's get out of this praise for each other mode that the rest are in. We really did not need Susko telling us what a great negotiator and teacher Barton was. Fact is Barton is one of those who gave the Superintendent a contract that would have her paid over $10,000 for not taking vacation. The guy that deserves it is Bud Dunham. Bud is a Jewel and a treasure who is destined for bigger and better things. For about twenty years, I understand, he has kept this town afloat. He is a master at budgeting, at working with people above, below and the same rank. It is too bad that the Superintendent can't be the gift to Sandwich the Bud has been. Bud answers his emails, phone calls, will say hi around town, is liked by his subordinates and always thinks of Sandwich first without trying to hurt the school committee in the same way the school committee hurts him like saying that the Superintendent did not need for the teachers to give up there raise because she could balance the budget without it having to be done. Oh, and Susko said last week that the unions who gave up their raises did a good thing, that clearly goes against what she has said in the past about how the schools did not need to do it. I have had it with the majority in the school committee. It is time to vote in Kangas and Crossman, they get it.

    Lin

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  35. "these anonymous posters........" ummmm, that would included the last poster. Nice going!

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  36. Is it a coincidence that the members of the school committee negotiating team drew the most venom from Anonymous "Lin"?

    Methinks not.

    I would have expected better grammar from a member of the teachers union. But I also would have expected a social studies teacher to not protest the idea of participating in a security screening during a recent bomb threat.

    You have got to love tenure ...

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  37. "Me thinks not"?? Great grammar LOL. I only went to high school, but my street smarts give me the ability to know a liar when I hear one or see one. The venom has nothing to do about who was on the bargaining committee, frankly I don't give a hoot unless it would be Linehan, Marshall or Kilion, the only ones who think about the community as well as the children. For a school committe person, you sure do like to keep your anonimity.

    Excuse my grammar, as usual you are condecending to the masses.

    Lin

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  38. My last post on the subject- We can not continue like this as a town, growing our spending while people are hurting.

    The folks who have been in office tha past few years have failed, with a few notable exceptions, Randy Hunt and Sherry Marshall. I do not include the new people on the school committee this year and Mr. Pierce (because he tries). You all can do what you feel is right, I am going to vote for new faces on the School and Selectmen committees.

    I plan to vote for Vatacco with a bullet and Crossman with a bullet. I recommend you all do the same, but if you feel that bullets are not the way to go, then vote in anyone who has not been in either of the committees ever.

    Lin

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  39. Please Lin – Don’t stop posting! We’re all waiting for more of your ideas. You really got a handle on what’s right and wrong with Sandwich! Hooray for Lin! Vote Lin with a bullet!

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  40. Lin:

    I agree with your observation that people are hurting and that new and additional spending controls are needed. This is why I have declared myself to be opposed to overrides and user fees of any kind.

    I do not agree with your conclusion that past Boards have failed and that past and present Board members are to blame. The Selectmen and School Committee, myself included, have worked diligently to limit spending and slow growth.

    Both Boards have recently and successfully negotiated contracts with generous members of town unions for 0 salary increases to help slow growth. Both Boards have cut expenses and spent budget dollars more efficiently. The town’s solid bond rating is a clear, objective measure of both Boards’ financial prudence and fiscal discipline.

    I think voters would be well served to do something more than vote an emotion or feeling. Voters should carefully review the records, qualifications and positions of all the candidates. Informed voters should act on research and fact.

    While bullet voting may make some sense on one level and does help a particular candidates’ chances, it does also mean that another open elected position will be filled by fewer votes and voters.

    Denying yourself the right to cast a vote FOR a candidate is never the best and most effective use of a precious right hard fought for and won by generations of great Americans.

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  41. Mr. Guerin

    Say what you want, but we are "screwed". This town has failed, with the notable exceptions of a past board with Keyes, Hunt, Deidring, Panorfi, and Dexter. At least they tried. I did not vote for some of them because I am a staunch liberal and they are not, but the more I saw of them, the more they made sense.

    You are running for office, and, of course you would say what you did. I do not blame you. You are better than most but you had your time.

    Most people do not understand town government and are too busy to try to learn.

    We are in town only the past six years. My wife tried over and over to fit in with the "in crowd" at school and PTA or whatever it is, and was just treated as a whisper in a wind storm. She felt her ideas were not appreciated and has moved on to other causes.

    The bullet is a good thing not a bad thing. Other than Ms. Crossman, I don't like any of them or you politically. I have met you. You are a nice person, but I don't agree with you many times and don't like your attitude. So, not liking anyone but Crossman, I choose to vote only for her. The non-vote is really a vote because it puts my candidate in a better position against everyone else.

    Good Luck

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  42. The original column that started this whole thread talks about only $2 a month for additional operating increases in the town budget and $6 a day for bond issues. Well, yes there is value in the bond items I will admit, but part of the $2 increase is the money spent on curtains, tables, nights in nice hotels, wasted money on hiring for a position which was eliminated just a few months later, money to pay for vacation time, untelevised meetings where the committee moves to a different location for comfort over the transparency of going before the public. These items may be small in terms of $45 million but it is symtomatic of the types of decisions that cost me a total of $8 a month which means that I can't have my Dunkin Donut coffee four times during the month. That is on top of the three cups I gave up a few years ago according to a school committee man. That would mean that I would be giving up a total of 7 cups which is about 1/3 of my one cup a day indulgence. I can barely make my mortgage payments, and no, I do not have a sub prime loan.
    I pay more fees to have my children play high school sports. That will cost me more cups if the fees increase. You see, I am two job person who is not a rocket scientist, but who also is not paid like one or has a salary like one.

    We will survive, but just like some postings above it is time for new faces. The old ones make empty promises just like all the rest.

    I love you all.

    Donald W.

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  43. Well, well, well....the split override topic certainly has struck a nerve.

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  44. Maybe, and just maybe, Don is stuck working two jobs because he isn’t very smart? Maybe.

    Maybe Don spends too much time thinking about his next coffee and little else? Maybe.

    Maybe the new faces have the answers. Maybe.

    Maybe the new faces represent the tax and spend crowd? Maybe.

    Last night’s Selectmen’s meeting talked about a school override, a town override and an override for building repair – yes, at least 3 possible tax increases totaling as much as $25+ millions.

    New face or old everybody better be real sure what their candidate really thinks about spending and taxes – maybe.

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  45. A message to Ken L. before I go to my second job. I am not smart, but I do not scoundrals when I see them. There a many on town boards.

    Although I am not smart, I do know people who need two jobs that are smart. The reason I need the jobs is that I have children and their mom is confined to home due to severe medical problems.

    Just get rid of those who do not want to help us.

    And yes, as my friend Simon said; "any way you look at it you lose". My dad sang it almost every day.

    Donald W.

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  46. Don is sort of funny. In one post he says that his kids play school sports and he works two jobs to pay the fees. In another post he says his kids (and wife) are ill and housebound. He also says that his ill wife made it to a PTA meeting and everybody was mean to her. According to Don he can barely make his mortgage but he still spends nearly $60 a month on take out coffee. And, when his kids aren’t ill at home he tells us that he’s spending $150 a kid per season on school sports. I’ll assume that Don is blogging from home which suggests that he’s spending $50 to maybe $150 a month for cable and internet access. Don’s life is a money mess. Based on what he’s told us about himself, Don makes awful choices and he apparently blames everyone else for his situation. Don wants to tell us how to vote and who to vote for. Seriously - knowing what Don has told us about himself and his choices why would anyone follow his advice?

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  47. To Donald W:

    I don't know who any of the anonymous posters are (including you) and, because of this, I'll allow some pretty critical comments to get posted. The two comments you sent, which were not posted, were personal attacks. "Personally" attacking an anonymous poster is fine, but you named who you thought the anonymous poster was, and that's not okay.

    Just trying to keep things civil here.

    Randy

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  48. Randy , do you care to take a wag as to why there are many critical posts? Because these are the same topics that were discussed twenty years ago. Other than a low income housing project please name the ONLY new structure in the great town of Sandwich? I'll give you a clue.............it covers sand and salt at the DPW. wow

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  49. There is nothing wrong with folks expressing their point of view in the form of critcism. However, if these folks think that the answer to our Town's problem, and many have stated so, is "New Buildings" then they should experience live living in Mashpee.

    ReplyDelete

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