To The Daily Sun,
As we see the political Town Meeting signs start to pop up within the community of Ashland, I find it difficult to comprehend why the Ashland Water and Sewer Departments have taken the initiative to expend user fees to cover the costs associated with the signs asking Ashland voters to vote "no" on warrant Articles 22-25.
Voting "yes" on these warrant articles will reduce the burden of taxes for all of Ashland taxpayers.
We live along a roadway with several other voters in this community who do not have water and sewer services offered by these departments. For the most part those of us who are not users of these departments do not get involved or attend the water and sewer commissioners' meetings. We do not ask anything of those departments and have not since the creation of the services. We pay for our personal systems to be pumped and have our wells tested as needed — again, at no expense to any of the users of these departments.
The time has come for a change. It's time for these departments to accept and pay their own way by accepting responsibility and paying for the infrastructure bonds that are being paid by the taxpayers. As a wise person once stated, it's time for the monkey to get off our backs.
During the 2014 Deliberative Session, a presentation was given showing that these departments combined had over $900,000 in savings accounts, whether it is with the town Treasurer or the Trustees of the Trust Funds. They indicate these funds are allocated for specific purposes/infrastructure. What about paying for the infrastructure that has already been built and financed through these bonds?
Ashland Warrant Articles 22, 23, 24 and 25 will mandate those departments to place $48,400 into a special revenue fund to offset the expense of the bonds that you the taxpayer (whether a user or not) are footing the bill for. If all taxpayers had the services they offer or were informed that in the near future it would be available to us, it may be easier to ask us all to pay our portion of the bill. This is far from the case. The registered petitioners of these warrant articles believe that the user fees should be appropriate to cover the expenses of the departments these bonds included.
The bonds that are currently on the town's books are not bonds for town roads, buildings or equipment. They are all for water and sewer infrastructure. All departments have infrastructure that needs attention. Take a ride around town, look at our buildings, our roads and our equipment. What would the costs of these bonds pay for within the infrastructure of the town? We cannot afford many of the necessities needed for the individual departments of the town because the taxpayers are carrying expenses that should be paid for by the water and sewer user fees.
There is a chance that the user fees may need to be adjusted to compensate for the additional expense. Those users of the system should be advised that the tax rate has consistently been adjusted to compensate for the cost of the bonds. The time has come for the users to pay their fair share.
Please consider voting yes for warrant articles 22, 23, 24, & 25.
Anne M. Abear