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It is time that the residents of the city start speaking up about the poor management of finances and the never ending attitude that there is a bottomless funding source in the city taxpayers.  The attitude that all budgets can go up by the max annual amount each year must be scrapped.  We as taxpayers live on a budget, and when there is no money we have no recourse but to give up something or put it’s purchase off. Retirement healthcare and benefit packages in this city and their administration need to be brought into line with private industry, and the golden goose of civil service reigned in.We have city councilors who vote themselves raises and provide minimum control of the expenses of this city. This with the copout comment that we don’t do the budget we approve it.   Millions are spent on a “Gaslight District with few  homes and mostly parking lots; it being built with expensive inscribed penal implants displayed on the street corners and more lighting than Bradleyfield uses on their runways.  We build a gazebo that no one can use because it is locked all the time. We spend money on a musical clock that doesn’t work,and water canons that are not environmentally compliant.  They take $3 million dollars funded from the state for our road repair and spend it on extending the Columbia Greenway, and our  roads get worse. We increase the school budget but lay off teachers with a declining school population, all the while  still  increasing highly paid administrative positions.  We inflate the bureaucracy at city hall with administrative jobs of questionable merit or need and little or no justification.  These jobs filled with more  good old boys who seem to be incapable of getting jobs in the private sector.  We give raises to department heads and find out that they are not doing their jobs i.e. lack of water in hydrants needed when fires occur, two instances in the last 12 months, never mind the issue with the wells and our water quality.  No one is holding any of these taxpayer paid employees accountable. Every response is well we are working on it.  When was the last time you saw a published timetable for action, or a cogent thought out LONG TERM CITY OPERATION plan? We meekly take on new rules and regulations from Boston that they refuse to fund.  How about once we take the position no money no compliance.  Put the law department to work.  I won’t even but mention the Cross Street School debacle. It is time that the citizens speak up and make your positions known. We need to get up off our collective asses and go to city hall on Thursday nights and demand accountability and reform in this city! 

All this talk about funding the completion of the rail trail needs to broken down into very simple terms. For an investment of $250,000 the city of Westfield will get a return of $6,200,000. Not a bad deal. Don’t get me wrong, $250k is a lot of money but it makes much more sense to apply it to the rail trail project because, make no bones about it, this expense is to make Westfield a better place for generations to come. When you vacation to other places (too countless to list) you’ll see communities invested in their future and they all have one theme in common, they support the arts, entertainment and walk/bike-ability. An investment in the rail trail is an investment in the future sustainability of the city for our kids and grandkids. We need to create reasons for the younger generations to stay here or move here and the rail trail is one of many elements that need both public and private investment. I will be watching closely which councilors vote against it as that will determine my vote against them in November.

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