Sudbury Vision

The Place for Sudbury's Citizen Reporters

It’s very obvious what happened last night. The pro-override supporters were very organized and showed up in force to push the override. I overheard some of them talking about how many of them made it to the meeting. They all groaned when anyone spoke in their opposition and were arrogant towards Mr. MacEntee. Unless the supporters of a non-override can organize and make public their valid points as to why this override is not necessary during the Great Recession, we will all be paying the price in the form of permanent higher taxes.

Last night we listened to over 30 minutes of pro-override presentations, all of which were allowed to go over the limit of 5 minutes each. When the opposition was allowed to speak Mr. MacEntee was not treated with the same fairness and was abruptly cut off after 5 minutes. I admit his presentation was not all that polished (neither were the Superintendents) and a challenge to follow for those not familiar with the budget, but he was never given the fair chance to make his final arguments as the others were and that is not democratic.

It was very disappointing to witness the moderator, who I would imagine should be impartial, leaning heavily toward the override movement.

Again, this override decision has no regard to seniors, empty nesters or anyone who cannot afford more taxes. This is a very self centered movement that will continue to destroy this town. This pro-override movement is driving out seniors, dividing the town and creating tensions between neighbors.

The only winners in this decision will be the town employees who received raises, guaranteed future raises and benefits paid for by the taxpayers that go beyond what the private sector has. In addition, these town employees have the lowest percentage of layoffs compared to most other careers during this recession.

Other Observations:

Mr. Keller seemed to be a bitter man last night as I’m pretty sure he didn’t mention his successor. A better man would have publicly congratulated Bob Haarde and given him his support while committing to be helpful during the transition period. Thank you for your service Mr. Keller.

There were many unnecessary delays in deciding how to answer several questions. It was very clear this whole process of voting to put the override on the ballot for a special election at the town meeting was not clearly thought out.

School teachers and School staff were at last nights meeting pushing for the override. These people also have lawn signs that support their positions which they would obviously benefit from. It used to be that if you worked in any form of public service, it was a conflict of interest to display any political views. This obviously has significant weight when the teachers of your children are pushing their influence on you. In my opinion, this should not be allowed. It should be strictly enforced and punishable by a fine or more.

The Open Town Meeting process is extremely inefficient. It took 3 hours to vote on 3 articles with many more to go. The meeting also appears to favor special interest which is not fair to the rest of the town. If all these articles need to be voted on by the public, then put them on a ballot.

What can we expect now? I’m confident more pro-override signs will be popping up all over town further dividing the residents and increasing tensions among neighbors. I guess that is what they want. I have to wonder if all the money the pro-override people are spending was just given to the town how that may have helped out with the budget crisis.

Where is this going to take us down the road? More empty nesters leaving town and more families moving in with more overrides to follow. How can this possibly end?

I am truly very disappointed in the manor of which this town is managed. Last night was an embarrassment and a disgrace. I feel as though my presence was meaningless and I seriously doubt I would attend another meeting. If this override trend does not stop, I honestly feel I’m better off taking my family out of Sudbury before it gets any worse. The final word will be at the special election which will also cost the taxpayers more money.

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Comment by Mister Rockefeller on April 12, 2010 at 1:41pm
Sio, you are correct and they are predicting a significant drop off in enrollment. And, this would also make sense why there was a redistricting. Haynes is one of the smaller schools, it has about 350 students before redistricting.
Comment by Sio on April 12, 2010 at 10:43am
So I've been thinking - which can be dangerous - but I believe there may be a direct correlation between the Northwood issue ( removal of the age requirement ) and student population. In the lower age groups there is a dramatic drop off in student population which is one of the reasons there is space for full day kindergarten. If the trend continues it is highly probable that an elementary school will have to close. So in effect, to keep employment in the schools at current levels, SPS needs an influx of young families. Something to look at I think
Comment by pmotw on April 9, 2010 at 10:11am
Logical Reasoning:

Unfortunately saying “it is what it is” is the problem. The town has little regard to a budget as they agree on contracts they know we have not budgeted for. That’s “what it is”. Over the many years they have counted on overrides which has been working to bail them out for poor financial planning. That’s “what it is”. Of course we should be looking at the entire picture to find other ways to save money and many of us are. The last time the override was defeated, the town and schools did find other ways to compensate for not receiving tax revenue over the 2.5 percent. I have heard that there were layoffs and I have heard there were not layoffs during that fiscal year. I don’t know which side to believe as I have not seen any concrete evidence to support either claim. However, I do recall the schools finding money to save several jobs. Unfortunately, voting NO on the override will force the town and schools to do what they should have been doing all along and that is to find ways to save money without layoffs. If anyone is laid off because an override is not passed, it’s NOT the taxpayers fault. All the responsibility for saving jobs is that of the people we hire and vote for to manage this town within its budget (plus 2.5 percent) every year.

I would and have voted for overrides in the past because I truly believe it was necessary. Now I question my judgment back then as this has been the trend for too many years where there appears to be no end in sight. I also was unaware back then this was a permanent increase and not just a one time deal. I support all our teachers, I respect them all and I appreciate all their efforts. However, they have union negotiators and the town working for them during contract negotiations and they made a huge mistake. A mistake that I refuse to support with my hard earned money. This is a situation where neither the teachers/school-staff, town staff or the taxpayers are at fault. Logical analysis of this unfortunate financial crisis would yield 100 percent of the responsible on the people we hired and voted for to manage this town. That includes the School Committees and the Finance Committee. They have failed us all and either way, it will be the town staff or the taxpayers that will once again fall victim to their incompetence.

There are ways to fix this and here is what I feel would be the necessary steps;

1. Defeat the override and force the town and schools to find ways to save jobs and maintain the level of education we have had.

2. Voting in candidates that brings more balance to the Schools Committees and the BOS.

3. Push union contract negations to after the town budget is established (got that from some one else on SV and I like it a lot)

4. Insist that all BRTF ideas are seriously considered.

5. Stop the flow of seniors and other empty nesters from leaving town thus preventing the flow of more students and increasing out budgets. There are a few things that can be done to achieve this. The first would be to stop increasing taxes. Then we need to limit the number of families coming to town via 40B and other means. The recent plan to allow families into the Northwood’s development is a horrible idea and it will just make our situation worse. Sure, a tax credit may be worth considering as well.

6. End the Free education for out of town children.

7. Find ways to encourage business in town.

8. Vote in a Town Moderator who will be fair and respectful to all residents. BTW, does Mr. Fox get paid for what he does?

9. Have more important (maybe anything over $50K) articles on a ballot rather then just the Town Meeting. I’ll bet there are many people who wish they could have voted on certain articles that didn’t have the chance.

10. Find an overall better method to allow the residents to vote on all the town articles. The Town Meeting format we have now is not doing justice to the rights of the residents.

There are many other great ideas out there. We can resolve the “it is what it is” situation. There is plenty of hope for this town, but we need not wait too much longer.
Comment by Bryan Semple on April 9, 2010 at 8:13am
Logical R -

If you want, start a new blog post called "Why I support the override" --- up to you. BUt feel free to start a new blog posting.
Comment by Logical Reasoning on April 9, 2010 at 7:26am
Okay, I'm off to work & have only read half the responses to my post & I will try to present my views on all these issues tonight. I feel that's what THIS board is about. SupportSudbury & the rest are propaganda sites - maybe I'll get to them as I get more involved in Sudbury politics. ttyl
Comment by Sio on April 9, 2010 at 7:12am
Logical Reasoning - I appreciate your viewpoints. Whining and complaining is not the answer. I post simply as a way for others to see how the community feels and to express my opinions as well. My voice is slowly being diminished in the venues our Founding Fathers created and I am fearful for the future. The override has not fully passed - it still requires a vote at the polls on May11. Following the numbers can be frustrating and ultimately may shut people down, however, in my recent discoveries of hard data, what's being preswented simply isn't factual or true. If we need an override - then we need it. However, I don't see the data that shows any real streamling of operations. I know we can have a more streamlined budget without losing teachers. This is an important statement. Contracts in this town are negotiated and agreed to prior to budget approval. Hmmmm it would seem to me that switching these courses of actions should be the first priority. Do you borrow money without knowing what your income will be? The school budgets and contracts even without an override still have some employees receiving raises of up to 6%. I don't think that is prudent. Level funding is not actually level as you and I know it. The teachers and support staff - not sure about the town employees- are still receiving raises in an economic crisis. We can do better and have more.
Comment by Sio on April 9, 2010 at 6:59am
One of the parameters for a healthy community is to be a cross section of society - in my opinion. We should be stewards of all. I feel that a single payer community is going to be the downfall of many across the nation. It is a self interested group with a large checkbook providing lots of power. I would like to see our children raise their children in their hometown as well as have the benefits of lifetime knowledge and experience from the elders. It might be time to resurrect the notion of a lower tax rate for retirees. Many of will not agree, but I believe this economy is going to last quite a while longer. That said, I think if the lower tax rate were proposed, it would have to have a means test. I certainly don't agree that a retired executive with a healthy net worth should be eligible. It should be thought of as a "scholarship" program. I know there are other programs similar however, the full tax rate is still applicable. Our fixed income residents who enjoy little to no town services should be respected and appreciated perhaps more than aanyone else. They have lived the life and fought the good fight as they say. They are the generation that is responsible for how the world interacts militarily, socially and economically. Yet somehow my generation seems to view them as a burden and we seek to destroy and alter their sacrifices. In my opinion, they should be celebrated more in our schools and welcome as first hand witnesses to many of the history teachings across the age groups. It is my hope that we can improve our social responsibilities. It isn't a choice any longer.
Comment by Waldo on April 8, 2010 at 10:58pm
Mister Rockefller,
Thanks for being a senior in this town. You are my idol. I always hoped to retire in Sudbury but it looks like the local government is driving me out as the last child gets his diploma.

Sincerely, I appreicate your contribution to the community and I wish there were more like you in town.

Thank you! (I'm jealous you got to retire here, I won't be as fortunate)
Comment by Mister Rockefeller on April 8, 2010 at 10:54pm
approving yet another override only further bloats the egos of this town's leadership. Stand strong, eventually they will be held accountable for failing to action on stream lining administration. Administration and healthcare are the only paths to stopping the madness.
Comment by Mister Rockefeller on April 8, 2010 at 10:51pm
After many years in town, we seniors just let town meeting decide as they wish unless we see someone really driving an issue that interests us. I'm not interested in roaming around town at 11 pm at night. Yet, don't count us out. We might leave them to their charades at town meeting, yet we will see them on election day.

you kids keep it up. We used to think you favored changing our community. There is a sense perhaps you are actually trying to protect us against the Status Quo.

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