After reading Ms. Martin’s extensive collection of misused information I believe a rebuttal is in order. The only salient comment I find in her letter is “Again what really counts is how much you pay not what the rate is.”
The listing of comparatives to other municipalities in her letter does a dis-service to the people and taxpayers of Westfield. No information as to how well managed, what the cost benefit or efficiency of use of the taxes paid in the other municipalities is provided. If they’re all as inefficient as Westfield seems to be, then shame on their taxpayers for allowing it. The comment on the bond rating just boggles one’s mind. That comment regarding borrowing funds just promotes the current buy now, spend spend, and pay later attitude that City Hall has embraced for the last several years. Just because the taxpayers have rolled over for increases to pay for lavish accoutrements like a Clock Tower that usually doesn’t work, or penal monoliths in a “Gas Light District” with more electric lights than Bradley Field has on a runway, seems to be an accepted way of doing business. Spending three plus millions of dollars for a bike path to nowhere with money that should have been allocated to road and street improvement reeks of the misguided and mismanaged state of priorities in this city. This does not even hint at the pension and health liabilities the non-council review of contracts has saddled the city with; this as M. Flaherty continually reminds us. A day of reckoning is coming.
I am tired of hearing that a line by line review of the budget has been done and, “ Oh by the way your taxes are going up AGAIN. It is time that instead of fattening, at much expense, the management rolls of the city with new positions of questionable worth, in the likes of a CFO, all departments should be given an annual task of justifying the the effectiveness and efficiency of their employed resources. They should not be allowed to just ask for more taxpayers funds on an annual basis for a “business as usual” business plan. They should be providing a business plan that utilizes what they currently have, and what can be shared with other departments. They should not be allowed to seek additional headcount if reallocation and reuse of existing resources, re-education or technology implementation can solve the apparent issue. It would be nice to sit in a City council meeting where some of the members are less interested in doing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle than getting a taxpayer dollar value for a dollar spent; as well as, holding the efficient administration of the city to task.
The election on Tuesday November 7th is a chance for Taxpayers of this city to refute the entrenched interests and “business as usual” attitude of the majority of the members of the current City Council. It is time to support and elect the members and new candidates to the city council who have the review and efficient usage of existing resources; as well as, the impact of proposed and planned expenditure actions on taxpayers, as their main priorities.
Dick Holcomb Westfield Taxpayer