Letter: We are responsible for our tax burden
To the Editors:
It’s budget time again and once more the question of accountability comes up. Who is accountable for waste, poor judgment, excesses, mistakes, and budget overruns? Who is accountable for the elegant playing fields but dilapidated roads, high teacher salaries but the lowest SAT scores in the area as well as low SBAC scores, fancy lamp posts and walkways in downtown but businesses leaving downtown, hundreds of employees in the school system but fewer than half are classroom teachers, or high residential taxes and deflated house prices? In the years that I've lived in Wilton I have never heard of anyone, employed by the town, being held accountable for any of these problems.
I have finally discovered who it is that is accountable for our town’s current situation. You would expect it to be a person or persons in town government, someone on the town payroll. But, it is not! We the have been told for years that more than 85% of registered voters do not vote because they are so happy with the way the town is run. As a result, the town's budgets are "approved" by a non-vote, a default. Conclusion: Your neighbors and others like them ARE accountable for our town's situation. With civil servants being immune to accountability and the bliss of the non-voters, we are all going to live with the wish lists being proposed.
But, it is not too late to put accountability back where it belongs. We must take those people who are in charge of spending the taxpayer's money to task. The Town Meeting form of government worked just fine for hundreds of years when all the town's people had "skin" in the game. It can work again if the disassociated crowd would pay attention to what has happened, and will again happen to our town. Town meetings are a perfect opportunity to sort the wheat from the chaff. Those people who present budgets for approval should be held accountable for the information they present. If they claim that they are not responsible, we need to know who is. The hard questions need to be asked and the data challenged. It is time to get off the Wilton merry-go-round. It's time to ask the "why" questions and keep asking them until we get straight answers. There is hope. We have some intelligent new people in Wilton town management. Hopefully they will help.
Serendipity Lane, Jan. 25