To The Daily Sun,
On Saturday Dec. 3, a joint meeting of the Bristol Budget Committee and Board of Selectmen was held to receive the town departments proposed budgets.
We must keep in mind that the requests for increases are only requests and will probably be reduced by either the Budget Committee or the selectmen or both.
The two largest requests, Police ($1,123,293) and Fire/EMT ($1,021,070) were both over a million dollars. This is extraordinary when you consider that Bristol has 3,054 residents and the average family income in Bristol is around $36,000 — about $20,000 below the state average.
Under the guise of "mutual aid," our police department is responding to many calls outside of Bristol, thus exacerbating the need for more officers and equipment. Included in the police budget is an item for the "PD K-9 program" for $1,800. When Chief Lewis first proposed this program he stated that it would not cost the taxpayers of Bristol one cent, as funds would be coming from donations and drug forfeitures. Whether you are for or against a K-9 program is unimportant, what is important is that in a democracy you should have the opportunity to vote new programs up or down as a citizen and taxpayer and not have it slipped in as a line item in a bloated budget.
Our EMT service area, by an agreement with Hill, Alexandria and Danbury, covers a total population of 7,406, of which 3,054 are Bristol residents.The majority of people covered live outside of the Town of Bristol, yet the towns of Hill, Alexandria and Danbury only contribute $120,221 total towards the cost of 24/7 EMT coverage for their residents. Bristol taxpayers pick up the remaining cost, which includes seven full-time employees, training, capital costs, benefits and supplies. This is certainly not an equitable, and sustainable arrangement. Bristol taxpayers have no obligation to provide services to surrounding communities, unless a new formula that is fair and equitable is implemented there will be mounting pressure to discontinue it.
When will our Bristol Selectboard and Budget Committee wake up and realize that you can't fleece taxpayers forever and get away with it.
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