Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Spaghetti Didn't Stick

Town Meeting last night was really painful.

We talked about potholes for a while. Whaddya know-- turns out people don't like them, but there's not enough money to fix them properly.

And then we talked about Pools. And recreation for poor kids. And how the Town should give money to private charities because that's just WHO WE ARE.

We saw barely-controlled outrage that closing War Memorial pool is basically a done-deal-- even if Town Meeting voted to keep it open, it's too late to repair it, hire lifeguards, and get it open for the summer. Fair enough, except that the outrage was directed at the Finance Committee, who were asked to do the impossible this year-- they had to come up with a budget when we have, even now, only a vague idea of how much funding we'll get from the State.

And then we got five different proposals to increase the Community Services budget from the Finance Committee / Select board recommendation (+$8,000, +$10,000, +$24,000, +$80,000, and +$175,000) and one to cut it in half. Talk about throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping some of it sticks!

I don't know if all of the motions to increase were some kind of coordinated strategy or not. If it was a coordinated strategy, it didn't work-- Town Meeting (and I) voted 'No' to all the proposed increases and passed the FC/SB recommendation.

Coordinated or not, the end result was a lot of tired and grumpy Town Meeting members.

Some friendly advice to the well-intentioned people who spoke so passionately last night: spend your political capital more carefully next time.


Anonymous said...

The question is:

How can we justify running for Town Meeting service for our fellow residents when it means submitting to being part of a captive audience hour after hour?

Many thanks to those stalwarts, including Gavin, who kept their wits about them through all the Chicken Little brinkmanship from the usual suspects, including the utterly shameless Library Trustees majority.

Anonymous said...

If the Town could give money to private charities because "that's WHO WE ARE", then the Town's residents could give that amount of money privately because "that's WHO WE ARE."

It's never been about the actual amount of money, but about the symbolism of taking that amount of money out of public tax revenues (and the corresponding symbolism of not doing it any more!).

For me, it's never been a compelling distinction.