Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Administrator's Message - Jan 6, 2009

A Message from the Administrator

What do you get for your property tax dollars and municipal fees? Some may say “not much” I think you get a great community to live and raise a family. The schools provide high quality public education and serve as the hope for the next generation. We have first class public safety departments, an effective and hard working DPW, a wonderful Library, a nice Senior Center that assists our older generations and an overall high quality of life.

In recent years we have begun to upgrade the water and sewer systems and have paved many poor roads along the way. We built or expanded three schools in the last 12 years, replaced the fire station, DPW garage, senior center, municipal building, and added recreational fields. I know that some citizens think if we did not make those improvements we would not have fiscal problems, but I can tell you we would still be struggling to make ends meet. We are not much different than other communities. Fixed costs rise faster than revenues. In response, we have cut the work force and reduced services.

The solid education system, great municipal services, and nice facilities all help protect your property values. It is hard to believe it when the property values are declining, but over the long run it will prove to be true. We will continue to look for ways to squeeze tax dollars and still provide quality services. It sure looks like we are all going to be caught in a financial struggle for awhile. The good news is we have been down this road before. It is no fun, but usually things right themselves over time. The State government has been able to help us out through tough times in the past, but they are facing an uphill battle without a new revenue source to meet their obligations.

If the state government cannot help financially, they can provide local government more control over our destiny. Changes to the laws that govern health insurance, pensions, bidding requirements, and laws governing employee issues are among a few areas that would help us over the long run. We will work closely with our elected representatives and senators to craft reforms that are fair and effective. It will not be easy but challenging times bring opportunities to address difficult challenges.

Those changes will not help us with the anticipated financial problem we will face in fiscal year 2010. In recent times we have been cutting budgets and services or looking for more tax revenue. I anticipate that FY 2010 will be not different. I will do my best to keep you informed of all the issues as we approach next spring and the annual fiscal dilemma.

Jeff Nutting

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. ~Benjamin Franklin

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