Letter: Shaftsbury candidate promises to lower cost

To the Editor:

At this time, I would like to announce my candidacy for the offices of Shaftsbury Town Clerk and Treasurer. I am focused on saving taxpayers dollars.

The change I envision will be to continue the level of service valued by community members but served in a different fashion and delivered at a reduction of cost. The duties and responsibilities of these two elected part-time positions can be combined. However at present, they are set to increase taxpayer costs by $17,298 (including salary increases and health benefits). The change I envision will be delivered at a significant cost savings in excess of $51,000 for this term, and $153,000 over three terms. The $36,234, or 2 percent overall town budget increase, is driven 48 percent by $17,298 for two elected offices. I offer my commitment and this solution by holding the spending threshold at last year's fully disclosed voter approved liabilities. It is my opinion that an elected official that sets their own hours should not be given employee benefits. This is contrary to our town personnel policy and put in place by loopholes and a technicality that uses an employee classification by the Internal Revenue Service.

For over 30 years, I've been providing bookkeeping, tax preparation, and office management services to individuals and area businesses, 20 of which were spent mentoring under Delinquent Tax Collector, Mert Snow, as his assistant. I have good understanding of the responsibilities of the elected positions and I do not take this opportunity to serve my community lightly. Mentoring for three years under Henrietta Billow, our past town treasurer, is also a plus. My tenure on the Shaftsbury and SVSU school boards has also provided me valuable experience with school budgets, policy, negotiating and their financial obligations, which can only be of benefit while serving in these positions and in meeting the needs of our community.

For these reasons, I offer taxpayers savings and also fulfill my desire to serve others. I announce my candidacy for the Town Clerk/Treasurer offices, and pledge to perform those duties and responsibilities with integrity and mindful of the needs of our community. I encourage Shaftsbury residents to become active in our budget process by coming out to vote this March, and reduce our tax burden.

As Franklin Roosevelt once said, "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote, except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting."

The choice in your hands, Shaftsbury taxpayers. Take back local control, or buy into a plan unaware of what you have purchased.

See you at the polls.

Holly Snow Bahan



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