Original budget deserves support
It is very disappointing that the Brandon town budget is subject to a revote. As a former member of the Select Board, I urge everyone to vote in the special election Tuesday, April 30. Please vote “yes” to support the original budget. Here’s why.
First, everyone has already had an opportunity to present their views, and to vote, on the budget. The Select Board held a series of budget meetings last December and January, all of which were warned public meetings in which townspeople participated. Drafts of the budget were circulated and widely available. Everything was discussed openly in a public meeting.
There were few questions on Town Meeting Night. Every registered voter had an opportunity to vote on Town Meeting Day, and the budget was passed. It is simply not right that the decision should be questioned now just because some don’t like the result.
Second, with the departure of Brandon’s town manager this is not the time to also have to formulate a new budget. There is a tremendous amount of other work to do, and the limited resources of the current Select Board and town staff are already stretched to their maximum. Whether you liked the original budget or not, this is not the time to force the town into another budgeting process and yet another series of meetings and votes. It is an unnecessary and time-consuming distraction.
Finally, it is absolutely true that no one likes to see their taxes go up. The Select Board does not like to raise taxes. But if you look at the history, since the financial crisis first hit several years ago, town positions were cut and maintenance deferred, resulting in a series of budgets that were mostly level-funded. Taxes actually went down in some years.
It is now time to step up to the plate and take on some of the deferred projects. If we want to see the town prosper and move forward, this work needs to be done.
Reasonable people can disagree on individual line items. We can debate these till we are blue in the face. But the time for debate was last December and January. Now it is time to move on and move forward. Please vote yes to support the original town budget.