To The Daily Sun,
We are in a special season that many Christians call Lent. The deacon of our local church has added his own interpretation of what it is or how it could be used for our benefit. He asked that we use the letters in lent to create a phrase to guide us during this season: Let's Eliminate Negative Thoughts. As we approach the election season in our various towns perhaps we could keep that phrase in our approach the ballot box or while attending town meeting.
This is the season when we decided who will administer the business of the town. It is also the culmination of all the efforts to present a warrant that represents the list of needs to get us as a town through the coming year. All those that depend on funds raised by the town have been heard and a proposed funding level has been put forth by the budget committee with the help others in the town governing body. The foregoing is an arduous task with little appreciation put forth by those requesting or those on whom the tax burden falls.
What is the nature of the needs to be met? How can we eliminate negative thoughts while we consider the various requests. First in line are the employees that the town requires to see that the work of the town gets done in an orderly fashion. There are usually some negative thoughts expressed about them but most of us recognize and appreciate those who serve us in their various capacities. Volunteers are welcome to sit on committees but certain jobs are necessarily requiring the full attention of people hired to take the responsibilities. Next in line in most town is those that care for our waste stream. Transfer station cost relating processing items delivered to that location and the collection of garbage at the curb. There are always complaints about sanitation but most of the complaints are generated by those who don't understand the finer parts of the process. The other major department is concerned with the roads of the town. The maintenance of streets and roads usually creates the most rancor. Everyone wants a smooth road connected to their driveway. To balance all the needs against the available funds requires the wisdom of Solomon and a high tolerance of criticism about how you do your job. Negative thoughts not withstanding, I submit that the road crew deserve high praise in my town.
In the grand scheme of things, the articles dealing with raising major sums are handled with heated discussion and eventually approved. So much for new equipment, so much for paving roads that have deteriorated to the point of dire need, so much for the bridges that keep us from falling into the river or streams, and so much to replenish the capital reserve funds relating to the those problems just mentioned. Some questions arise, but good humor prevails when explanations are forthcoming from the department heads.
The article dealing with financial support to agencies and organizations providing services to the residents usually is the one most hotly discussed. Many of those who provide the service are very dedicated people used to working with meager funds. Some depend on multiple towns for funding and until after town meeting have only a vague idea of what funds they will have to work with. The budget committee and the select board recommend but many times those assembled have other ideas. Sometimes egos get bruised by those voicing negative thoughts. Alas, that's the down side of living in a small community.
So, as the vernal equinox approaches, lets concentrate on eliminating negative thoughts. Support your local government by participating in a positive way. Go vote and attend the town meeting. Maybe you could actually volunteer for a committee.
- Category: Letters
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