This letter to the editor was submitted by Noel Lyons Baker. We welcome your comments and submissions. ~Publis
A recent editorial in the Derry News urged residents to continue to speak out on the current proposed budget cuts by the Town Council and for the Council to listen. They have a lofty goal of $2.00 per thousand which was agreed upon by all and initiated in response to the requests of the voters. Despite the big show put on by a vocal minority, the silent majority has spoken already at the voting booth. The Derry Town Council not only listened, it is holding strong to its promise to act.
In 2013 much of the face of the Council was changed. An overwhelming majority of voters spoke when they ousted the leadership and replaced them with servants who ran on a common premise to lower taxes. Councilman Mark Osborne, who received almost double the votes of his incumbent opponent, knocked on many doors during his campaign. What he found was that although there were varying opinions on an array of issues, one thing rang true for all: They wanted and needed lower taxes.
According to the survey done in 2008 for the 2010 Master Plan. the number one concern of Derry residents was reducing the tax burden. At that time the rate was only $25.53 per thousand. What happened? In 2009, the rate went up 9% while the property values dropped a whopping 6%. Derry’s tax rate is now up to $31.29 per thousand. This is not a shining example of the elected officials responding to the constituents. With a school budget eating over $71 million tax dollars, from where does the tax relief come?
It seems that when the voters turned out in the last election they counted on this town council to step up and make the necessary cuts. And what are the councilors responsible for? Municipalities. And why is the majority silent? Who wants to speak out publically on cutting things like money spent on police and fire, or on programs for at risk teens; particularly when hundreds of people, egged on by public employees and union leaders, show up at the town council meeting public session with heart wrenching stories of lives saved and library workers holding posters made by teens pleading not to dispose of their after school programs? With 63% of the overall budget invested in the schools, maybe they should be housing these programs.
Who wants to challenge union thugs and their fear inducing tactics, using social media and every possible outlet to intimidate and guilt residents into leaving their wallets always open to them?
At one point during the last public session, Derry was compared to Dover, my hometown. A town I was forced to leave when I was ready to buy my first home in large part to their unaffordable taxes. What a comparison! A city with a similar population, but a municipal budget almost $5 million lower than that of Derry; a tax rate that is less by $5.52 per thousand. Yet with three fire stations, one less than Derry, and with a much smaller staff they continue to take exceptional care of their town. Their single public library serves the many needs of the community. Why does Derry need two?
As the fear mongers rev up hysteria to assure their overtime is protected, remember what task this council was charged with. The April 7th session is gearing up to be another three ring circus with union leadership as Master of Ceremonies. They have already intimidated three councilors to back down on their commitment to you by agreeing to cut the budget by only $1. I urge residents to show up this Tuesday to testify to the financial burden on their backs. Don’t let the loud minority of voices drown out what you, the majority of voters, have already asked your council to do.