LETTER: Former Councilor Calls for Changes in Budget, Transparency

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Dear Editor,

The November Preliminary Budget Overview presented by the Watertown Town Manager:

Is it a political shell game in order to appear to be an exceptional fiscal manager?

How is a budget balanced with a deficit of over $1.5 million each year?

Have you ever wondered or considered how we effectively and magically balance our budget year after year?

It is very simple!

The tax rate has not been established in November!!

The following is the procedure: the budget is an estimate of next year’s expenses and anticipated income from all sources except property taxes. The planned expenditures or the total money needed (i.e, budget) minus the Manager’s projected revenues equal the budget deficit. Once the deficit has been identified the tax rate – the amount of money that will be raised through taxation – is levied or appropriated in order to make up the difference and have a balanced budget. 

Given this knowledge, we need transparency in our local government and a person developing the budget, along with his team, who is dedicated to educating taxpayers and residents of Watertown regarding the process he or she employs rather than being a perceived miracle man. Voters have the ability to control the destiny of Watertown during the upcoming election this November. We should insist on councilors who share our vision of receiving in detail where all of our valuable tax dollars are spent; even the new revenue sources coming from the development/growth we are witnessing. 

Voters, please elect members of our next council who are committed to returning to the principles of democracy which we have not experienced for the past four years. All taxpayers’ and residents’ voices have to be not only heard but also welcomed to participate and raise questions regarding every item on the table and under discussion at Council meetings.

This must include the adoption and employment of new methods to reach out and involve the young as well as senior citizens in their government as an essential element if we are going to see a difference in the governance of our community. Massachusetts was the birthplace of american democracy. Watertown is now a far cry from the democratic principles established by our founding fathers. 

Transparency and accountability of the use of tax monies is being demanded by taxpayers. In addition, with all the new monies coming into the general fund, taxpayers want to see a stop in the increase in their taxes year after year. Everyone i talk to say they do not mind paying their rightful share of taxes for services. 

They understand that those before them sacrificed in order to build schools, streets and other municipal buildings, etc. that make us a community. However, as we see unmet educational needs, the east and north library buildings further deteriorating, our streets and sidewalks remain unrepaired; unfettered growth on every available open space and our first responders being without a contract for seven years, these issues demand immediate attention. 

Our previous councils valued open space for our children and families in order to have outdoor areas to play and for other recreational uses. If we are not vigilant, we are going to experience increased cases of asthma, and other pulmonary diseases due to the lack of quality air and water as we become more densely populated.

We do not have appropriate infrastructure in place to support the current development already approved and additional trouble looms ahead as new projects are approved!

Sincerely,

Clyde L. Younger
Former Town Council President

Potential Candidate for Town Council President

One thought on “LETTER: Former Councilor Calls for Changes in Budget, Transparency

  1. What exactly is your beef here? They figure out how much money is needed, then they collect it. What would you have them do instead? Borrow? Let things deteriorate further?

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