By S.D. Plissken | October 30, 2018
Yes, they did it again. At last night’s Board of Selectmen (BOS) Meeting, the BOS voted unanimously to raise our taxes by 4.19%. For those that live in the real world, yes, that would be double the 2.1% rate of inflation.
The BOS meeting was recorded for Youtube, but the audio failed. Ms. Nancy Faith Wing made a partial recording with her cell phone, which may be found at her Our Milton Home Facebook group page.
The 4.19% increase failure was going to be much larger and – get this – the BOS was going to be okay with that. That is our basic problem.
Cost savings or cuts were not deployed. They even threw in the lesser pumper truck ($5,500), as a stop-gap, a new cemetery position, with rather vague back-of-the-envelope cost calculations, which will certainly rise, and a round of eleven new Glock pistols for the police force, as a sort of cherry on top.
I mean, really, are police pistols, like police cars, on some sort of automatic renewal plan? I suppose pistols must wear out, eventually, but did that really happen so soon?
As expected, insurance was the elephant in the room. There were four possible options on the table, ranging from worse to bad and then worst of all. That was what scared them last time. Even the BOS was having trouble swallowing the bitter pill.
Chief Krauss stepped up and performed some in-his-head calculations at the lectern, through which he was able to merge two awful insurance options to make a merely bad one. Deus ex machina! One wonders why that had not been done before. Chief Marique was projecting the budget spreadsheet onto a screen, but his PC had no power cord and turned itself off. A bit of comic relief.
Then the BOS looked glum. Vice-chairwoman Hutchings and Selectman Lucier, at least, finally grasped the nature of their utter failure to manage the Town government:
Lucier: It would have been nice to have all this information prior to doing the budgets. You know, we get this at the last meeting. [Long pause]. I wouldn’t have done this budget the way we did the budget. I personally would not have supported any new positions, and I probably would have looked at cutting some positions. ‘Cause this is just …
Hutchings: They’ve also … next year in the budget, I mean, the whole process, I really think that employees need to be put into like … Pat’s people need to be in his budget, Rich’s need to be in his, Nick’s need to be in …
Thibodeau: You mean the health benefits …
Hutchings: Yeah, all the benefits. When we’re looking at the budgets, we’re really not looking at a true budget for a department when we don’t have all the information. I think we need to go back to putting those people into those individual budgets, so we can truly look at it and see … what each budget is …
Hutchings: I agree with Chief Krauss, I think …
Lucier: I don’t think we have much choice.
Hutchings: No. … and Chief Marique.
In the end, they took up at Chief Krauss’ miraculous bad option and approved it unanimously. Actually, they all voted first for an incorrect amount, unanimously, which totaled to 4.18% increase. Then they discovered something had been left out of the shopping cart. When that was added, it came to 4.19%. The new bottom line will be $4,707,008.48, an increase of. $197,395.85, or 4.19%, over last year. Those that chose “over” in the pool can collect their winnings.
The Scots have a formulation for all this in their Lallans or Lowlands dialect. They would ask if our Selectmen are feckless or gormless? Gormless may be defined as lacking understanding. (We would say clueless). Feckless may be defined as lacking any “feck,” or effect. Under that interpretation, the BOS knows what should be done, but are unable to carry it through. Their actions lack effect, they are useless.
Some might say that this is a false question: the BOS has been both feckless and gormless, in turn. They began as being gormless and, in so being, did not address these issues in a timely manner. They frittered away the year; they wasted our time. By-laws indeed. Now, at the end, with looming statutory deadlines, they realize the full extent of their folly. But there is nothing to be done. They are now feckless.
How many will suffer under their new 4.19% increase? That is, 4.19% if you are gormless enough to think it will not rise yet further. How many neighbors will we lose this year? How dare the BOS, and you, speak of “community” while voting to destroy its financially weaker members? Shame, shame is what we should feel. Unless, we are all as gormless as Selectmen.
Next come the default budgets. You know, the ones that are carefully crafted, as specified by the RSAs, to make the greater amounts on the ballot seem like they are in fact the lesser amounts and vice versa.
P.S. A commenter corrects us to say that the Budget Committee is not responsible for the amounts in the default budgets. The paragraph above has been corrected to reflect that information.
Wikipedia. (2018, October 29). Deus Ex Machina. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_ex_machina
Wiktionary. (2018, June 18). Feckless. Retrieved from en.wiktionary.org/wiki/feckless
Wiktionary. (2017, May 24). Gormless. Retrieved from en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gormless
Wing, Nancy Faith. (2018, October 29). Partial Cell Phone Video of BOS Meeting, October 29, 2018. Retrieved from www.facebook.com/gniwgniw22/videos/10155515676606260/