Monday, November 06, 2006

Noise in New Hartford . . .

Congratulations to the organizers and volunteers who used their time to circulate several petitions concerning New Hartford's recent Borrowing Binge. You have forced the issues to be put up for a public vote.

This was no small feat. The Town Board's decision to borrow in eleven separate resolutions (even for things as piddling as a leaf machine) forced the organizers to circulate (and members of the public to sign) eleven separate petitions. One might infer that this was a deliberate move by the Town Supervisor and Town Board Members to discourage the public from getting involved. But New Hartfordites are no dummies ... they understood this, and it got them angry.

"Town Supervisor Earle Reed . . . said town leaders will have to work to educate residents about the borrowing plans. . . . "We've got to do more education for the taxpayers because this is needed for the town," Reed said Friday. "

That statement will certainly win points! The taxpayers need to be educated? Mr. Reed's got it backwards. It is the Town Board and Town Supervisor who need to be educated. The taxpayers see borrowing for things that normally are paid for out of current taxes and wonder why they should pay for finance charges that will not pave one pothole.

While some people confuse urban sprawl with growth,
it is starting to sink in that we are expanding infrastructure and increasing future expenses WHILE THE TOWN'S POPULATION IS DROPPING. This is not growth. It is a recipe for higher taxation in the future. While there may be some short term tax relief from the businesses moving in (though the degree is questionable because they may have been given taxbreaks), it is in exchange for the quality-of-life values for which many moved to New Hartford.

Mr. Reed and the Town Board, in their penchant for secrecy, seem to be working for the development interests rather than the population as a whole. That needs to change. The petitioners are saying:

If it doesn't. We the People will make the necessary changes ourselves.

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