Candidates On The Budget - 3-Year Seat
How do the candidates feel about this year’s budget? The responses of candidates running for the 3-year seat are below.
2. On January 10, 2018, the Selectboard voted to recommend to the voters a FYE 2019 Town budget of $4,502,386. Questions: How would you have voted at that meeting on that budget? Why? [In Mary’s case: How did you vote on that budget and why?]
I voted to recommend the FYE Town budget of $4,502,386. The proposed budget increased by less than 1%, and supports a level of service that 76% of voters were comfortable with at the last Town Meeting. The increase is about $40,000. I do not support cutting health insurance for employees. Why would you not want healthy employees? When I moved to Norwich as a teenager in 1970 there was far less than is available now. There was a part time constable, no recreation program, no Huntley Meadow, Milt Frye Nature Area or Foley Park, the library had no addition and was open for very limited hours, and Tracy Hall had not been renovated. The aspects of town that seem to be integral are actually value added over the last 37 years. That being said, they are important to the life style of the town. I do worry that the six figure increase in the school budget due to state changes will bounce back with anger towards the municipal side, which I think is reasonable given the services provided.
As I watched that meeting, the deliberative process was not clear to me. I could not discern a methodology and we were not privy to all the documents the members had seen. However, based on that limited view, I would not have recommended that budget. Beyond that, I would have liked to have seen more discussion about how to control costs for tax payers. There is much discussion about affordable housing in the context of attracting new families to town. I believe there is value in ensuring housing remains affordable for the people who already live here as well.