Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Letters, we send letters….

The following letter of ours was apparently printed in today’s edition of the Times Record:

The referendum to approve Brunswick’s School Budget next Tuesday epitomizes two axioms of municipal governance. The first is “Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as they spend their own.”

Per student costs have increased by 6.3% annually in the last 12 years; had the increase been 5%, the proposed $35 million budget would be $5 million lower. Spending increases on the subjective conviction that school ‘excellence’ is measured by how much we spend, and no one in authority, let alone taxpayers, question such unsustainable cost growth. This is like defining your excellence as a cook by how much you spend on groceries.

The second axiom is “What belongs to you, you tend to take care of; what belongs to no one or everyone tends to fall into disrepair.” If you can compel money from others to replace something, you don’t worry too much about taking care of it, and may even be motivated to do the opposite.

Jordan Acres School became unusable because of uncleared snow buildup on the roof. Now two other schools need replacement because they were not adequately maintained and kept in good repair. Broken toilets and other dreadful examples of poor stewardship abound.

As they say, “you can govern or you can spend.” In Brunswick, the latter always triumphs over the former. It’s clear that serious introspection, and disciplined analysis of budget trajectories and asset stewardship is long overdue.

Defeating the proposed budget is a good way to make that point.

Let us emphasize, dear readers, that if you don’t vote, you can’t make the point.  So you can either vote early at the Town Hall, tomorrow (Thursday), or you’ll have to head to the poll at BJHS on Tuesday.  Not doing so is rolling over to regular, unsustainable property tax increases.

Do you want that on your conscience?

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