Letter: Candidate responds to Select Board letter
Shaftsbury taxpayers beware.
In response to the Shaftsbury Select Board's recent letter to the editor, I would like to address the following issues. I stated I could save the town at least $17,298 per year. Most of this savings is in health insurance. The offices of treasurer, accounting/payroll and town clerk are budgeted for $100,197 next year vs. the $79,934 spent last year. Do we have such deep pockets that we can handle additional increases of $30,000? In January 2018, the budget showed $28,000 for fees, but when the town report was published that number changed to $41,640. Really? Where are these extra fees coming from? Perhaps it's an illusion to cover the increased expense.
When Henrietta Billow's last term as treasurer ended, the expense for the Treasurer's position, accounting/bookkeeping and town clerk were $54,540. The town clerk's salary has increased $21,000 since then. However, in those six years the costs have nearly doubled, but the fees have not.
The board's standing personnel policy dated July 1, 2012, Section 2.2.1 states that elected official's health insurance shall not be covered. Thus, the additional $10,538 health insurance expense for the town clerk is not appropriate in my opinion. A new policy pending legal review may be adopted. This could open the door to additional elected officials requesting health insurance if they're willing to increase their hours, and have elected officials voting to approve the benefit. The town report shows the budget for the town clerk to increase to $46,963. Further changes to the personnel policy will lead taxpayers down a slippery slope. To adopt personnel policies without due diligence and transparency may increase the taxpayer's burden. We have to think about the impact 5 or 10 years down the road. Neither the IRS, nor the Vermont Dept of Labor consider elected officials as employees. Why does the Select Board?
It behooves all taxpayers to study the town report budget and last year's expenses carefully before voting. I would like to encourage all Shaftsbury residents to act now! Come out to vote to reduce your tax burden.
The choice is yours. Take back local control, or buy into a plan you may not wish to purchase.
Holly Snow Bahan,
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.