standing letters

There is the sound of silence for Charlestown taxpayers in the current ’20-’21 annual budget, which was approved by the CCA-majority town council members.

The silence is about our overwhelming rejection of last year’s budget, which had included a surprise $3.1 million building project by CCA and our strong message of defeat for that budget. We asked for and the council told us they would do a townwide professional survey to determine what we wanted for the town and what, if anything, to spend our budget surplus on. They even set aside $74,000 in last year’s budget for this survey.

We citizens are being ignored. This current budget includes unneeded prepayments that leave the town with a reduced surplus. This is hardly a year, with the viral pandemic gripping our nation and threat of a very deep recession, to be prepaying anything. I don’t think taxpayers are prepaying anything right now and are saving as much as we can.

Charlestown may need that surplus money next year to prevent an increase in our taxes due to all the unknowns from the pandemic.

Here is what will happen if we defeat this budget and, like last year, force a revised budget from the town council:

1.The tax rate will still be lowered by using $1.2 million of the surplus to lessen the blow of our tax revaluation this year.

2. The animal shelter renovation funds provided in this budget from the town will still be provided. Deb Carney will vote to keep them there. The only way it won’t happen is if the CCA majority pulls them out on the revision.

3. The remaining $2 million surplus from last year will be put back in the unassigned surplus to wait for the survey of our town and to stay safe for whatever possible negative financial events happen this year.

Almost 7,000 of us received a mail-in ballot for this budget. Please dig it out and vote NO, soon, and mail or drop it off at Town Hall. You may also vote at the Charlestown Elementary School on June 1 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cheryl Dowdell

Charlestown

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