Be prepared folks: Anyone who opposes this for the simple fact that the taxpayers simply cannot afford this, the school needs simple renovations not a $40 million rebuild, etc. will be instantly branded a "hater" by many and accused of wanting our children's futures to deteriorate.
This, at a time when water and sewer rates are poised to be doubled, if not worse.
This at a time when the national economy is utterly abysmal and unemployment remains shockingly high, with tens of millions having simply given up looking for a job and fallen off the statistical compilations. This when the housing market has literally never been worse.
This at a time when gas remains at the highest price it has ever been.
This at a time when home heating oil is going to be through the roof the next couple of years and likely beyond (and a large percentage of homes in Holden use oil and no one should think that we will have merciful winters like we did this past winter)
Be prepared for all the “It’s the cost for the average taxpayer of roughly one cup of coffee per day” exhortations.
Be prepared for the “If we do not build it now it will cost us more in the future” arguments.
It’s time for the folks of Holden to make a choice. We are at a very perilous crossroads: We can continue down the path of spending and spending “debt exclusions” (a fancy term for Prop 2 ½ override), and more and more endless wish lists by our elected officials and others in our employ.
Or, we can start to send a message that we need our Town’s government to start to exercise precisely the same fiscal and economic constraints the sensible people of this Town place on our own families’ budgets.
Choose very, very carefully, because as surely as you will hear over and over “If we do not build this now we may lose out on the state’s contribution in the future, it will cost more if we wait” etc, etc., if you do not choose wisely, you’ve placed your posterity’s futures in dire economic peril, at best.
Speaking of our children….
Actually, you all are missing the salient point:
What is far more critical than what a public employee like Mr. Pandiscio "makes" (I.s. salary) is what his employment COSTS the taxpayer.
I will not address this gemtleman's salary but will instead take a hypothetical $150,000 salaried employee. Factoring benefits, pension and overhead and administrative costs allocated to that employee, uneasily that $150k employee is costing the tax payers $220,000. Year, of not more.
I say this solely because we, as taxpayers, ought to be informed about where our hard earned money is going.
Whether Mr. Pandiscio is "overpaid" or not, as for me I truly do not know. He seems like a dedicated, sincere man.
But what I do know is that the costs of public employment generally are spiraling out of control. Indeed, the simple undeniable fact is those costs are burdening local and state budgets and if left unchecked my well bankrupt increasing numbers of governmental entities..
So we can either pretend this fact does not exist, ignore the fiscal dimensions of it or address it by things like pension reform, reducing the numbers of public employees, utilizing contractors when feasible, etc.
The choice is ours.
If we allow ourselves to be swayed by arguments that place considerations of "fairness" as to any one individual over the collective good of the people's fiscal well-being, then as surely as the sun roses over Holden each day, Greece is coming here......
So the decision was made based on the fact that the Senate budget calls for that additional $400k or so in funding ?
Just so everyone knows: The Senate budget is at most just half of the equation. The House and Senate next go into conference committee at which almost anything can happen. Typically, the final result is a number somewhere between the House's budget and the Senate's but it could be anything.
The point is, such decisis should not be made until the final,budget comes out.
Also, these towns make it sound as if the problem is their residents are not taxed enough.
I cannot begin,to imagine what we would now all be paying in local taxes but,for the fact that years,ago Proposition 2 1/2 became law.
Well, what few us would be ale to continue to live in these towns.
Most would long since have fled to New Hampshire.
Niote too not a solitary call to reduce the administrative bureaucracy of the School District.
No, they will lay off teachers as a message to parents : Dig yet deeper into your pockets or your children's education shall be gutted out. They will close down the libraries that are used heavily by seniors and soccer moms.
In the meantime, towns like Holden have a police force that is arguably three times the size of what they truly need. How many are there ? 34? Is this truly needed ? I do not think it is possible to drive from one end of Main Street to the other in that town without passing or seeing at least two cruisers in any given mile stretch, regardless of the time.
How many folks are working under the superintendent schools in "administrative" positions ? At what cost ?
Same old stuff town governments have pulled for decades in Massachusetts.
Low turnout means apathy.
Apathy means our elected officials are able to make decisions (and increasingly can do so without ever really letting on with their words that they are) but remain held largely unaccountable for those decisions.
This means, a myriad of decisions that bring about the same bad results over and over again, yet despite the empirical evidence proving conclusively that they will bring about those same bad results, those elected officials simply promise repeatedly that if you, the people, would kindly just accept this premise again, all will be well (You know: like the "it's just the cost of a cup of coffee a day" argument they make whenever they just HAVE to have that new public safety building, new middle school....just fill int he blanks....).
It sort of just plain "feels good" to say it, though. And after all: why not? Nobody is telling them otherwise at the polls, correct?
And, this typically means over-taxing the people and ignoring the root cause of public budget deficits: over-spending. And over-spending means, sooner or later, ultimate fiscal collapse.
In short, low voter turnout means the implicit judgment by the people fo the Town of Holden that insanity is not such a bad thing after all... View Comment
Only the government could say ith a straight face that by deciding not to spend on items in its wish-list this constitutes "cuts"
Truly unbelievable stuff.
Any private business conducted this way would be lucky to last a year and change. View Comment
Those who predicate arguments about excesses in any given public budget on the "salaries" received by any given employee (whether the superintendent of schools ro anyone else working fulltime) miss the mark dramatically.
The salient factor is not "how much they make", rather it is what are the full cost per employee to the taxpayer.
Any given $100,000.00 employee, for instance, typically costs the taxpayer $150,000 or so when factoring in pensions costs (present and future), health benefits, dental, disability benefits, etc. And that premium is growing, last time I checked, here in Massachusetts by about 7-8% per year for state employees, for example.
This is not to mention that one must also allocate administrative and overhead costs per employee, which will easily drag any such $100,000 salary up closer to $200,000.
I say this not to "smear" any public employee. That is not the issue and anyoe who does so is way off-base.
I say this to point out, however, that we as a community, as a Commonwealth and as a nation have GOT to start taking far greater note of such things and then taking steps to rectify them. These include privatizing services when feasible (core functions like polcie, fire, teachers, etc cannnot and should not be privatized but there are plenty of otehr functions that can), reducing the numbers of public employees where feasible, placing strict limitations on the groiwth of those numbers, curtailing the pension packages received by future employees, and much more. We have got to be FAR better fiscal stewards of what is, after all, our own money....
For if we do not, just as assuredly as the sun sets in the west, we are headed for unmitigated fiscal disaster.
"who feel that these types of investments hold potential to save the taxpayers significant money by enabling town government to become more efficient."
Ah, yes. As weall know, the more public employees,the more "efficiencies" for the taxpayer.
This is borne out by the fact that in this very same article, there is reference to the possibility of facing layoffs of part time police so that the full times ones with the pensions, expensive benefits and higher salaries ca be retained.
Yes, you just have to love those governmental "efficiencies"
And mark my words: Solar, photovoltaic, windmills, take our pick: it is not going to translate to one shiny dime in savings to the consumer.
But it will make lots of folks "feel" better about themselves and be fodder for all kinds of photo ops for town officials in local news outlets.
Yes, how great this all is. View Comment
So, in other words, a senior living in town must work nearly 90 hours simply to get a reduction on their taxes of $750? This after having worked their entire adult life to pay taxes- state. local and federal?
Here is a novel idea: These towns should start to look not to constantly raising taxes but to cuitting their budgets- the same way we who are increasingly literally working for the government like it or not are forced to do.
How about privatization of services where it is feasible (obviously not police, fire etc but there are plenty of places where this could and should be implemented in local government) so as to reduce the numbers of employees receiving pensions.
We are headed for a precipice and instead of tellling seniors they can work for free for nearly 90 hours to get a "reducation" in the substantial burden they already bear, how about we start having a serious discussion about reversing the course of fiscal ruinaiton on which this is taking us?
Translation: Open up your wallets, folks, to pay yet even more taxes you simply do not have and at a time of sheer, utter economic despair and decline nationally, with gas prices poised to go to ther highest levels in history.
And all this while The superintendent of school tries to also convince us that it is an absolute imperative to spend an initial $1 million we do not have on iPads for students that will be obsolete in a scant few years.
Truly surreal stuff.... View Comment
What I perplexes me is how much time we spend fretting over this, and all the attendant local government emphasis (obsession?) over this, etc, yet here we are a nation with a $15 trillion debt (to reach $16 trillion by the election) and virtually no one even talks about it, There has been more contribution to the national debt under the current president in a scant three years than under presidents Washington through Bush, II combined.
Sorry, folks, but if and, more likely, when the dollar collapses and we become the next Greece, recycling is going to be something that pales in comparison.
We speak of the need to be stewards of the earth for our children's futures. And this is fine.
Yet when it comes to their financial futures, and their ability to ever have what we've had, much less a better piece of the American dream than we have had, we apparently could care less.
But oh well:: at least they will be living in a "green" world while surrounded by unmitigated economic despair.... View Comment
As is usual with this type of thing, note the complete and total lack of just plain addressing the simple yet undeniable fact: Taxpayers have no more to give.
We are at a juncture where the superintendent of schools is proposing a $1 million ipad program, yet just last week an automated phone message went out from one fo the elementary schools wherein the principal explained that the forthcoming budget situation is dire.
I have nothing against either the author of this or the superintendent. I believe both to be good people who are acting in what they think is the best interests of the Town and the District.
But regardless of how sincere one may be in his or her belief that we need to ask the taxpayer to pay yet more in order to maintain the status quo, or to pay for $1 million in startup costs for an ipad program, the taxpayers are broke.
Note the complete and total lack of mention of that aoparently minor, triffling little question : But can we afford this ?
And folks wonder how we can have a $15 trillion national debt.
If our elected and appointed leders are this brazen about it at such a close proximity as town and regional school systems, just think how easy it is for Washington to get away with pilfering our hard earned money..... View Comment
"I'd frankly like to have a different discussion than 'how big is your budget, how much can you cut?' as opposed to what are our needs, what are our revenues, and how do we forecast them over a five or ten year period?"
Translation: Open up your wallets even deeper to pay even more money you do not have, residents of the District...
I have one:
If it is so imperative that the media through which our children learn be transferred to allormmostly digital right away, then why doesn't the town of Holden substantially dismantle, if not outright eliminate, the physical facility at the Gale Free Library and make it a digital / virtual one?
After all, as the initiative's website suggests, it's the wave of the future....
Thank you, Sir, for my children's freedom.
“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered... deeply, ...finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
-George Washington View Comment
While they are preparing this website and the myriad sales pitches for this, here's something they can add to their list:
How is $1 million remotely justifiable at a time when we can barely even afford to have teachers in the classroom at current levels?
How is $1 million justafiable at a time when the pension and benefit obligation costs for public employees in the district (not just teachers but all others) is alone on the verge of increasing at such a rate that if left unchecked it will virtually consume the budget of each and every town in the district?