Letter: Budget Committee out of touch with Tiverton reality
To the editor:
As a taxpayer, I am very concerned with many of the recent comments that have been made during budget committee meetings. It brings me great concern when our building inspector is told that it is ok that he is being overworked, should be grateful that he got a vacation, and it’s reasonable that residents wait 30 days for building permits.
It is also careless when members of the committee suggest that our high school should be closed and repurposed for a police/fire/ town hall annex and it is in the towns best interest to bus our 540 high school students to other communities or other states because that's what we did in 1964. Essentially this would be taking Tiverton tax dollars giving them to another community, or state, displacing our town’s children and telling them they are not welcome here, Tiverton taxpayers find no value in educating you.
Our police, fire, and school department heads have all sat before the committee and said the same thing — Tiverton pays the lowest salaries in the state. How can these departments be expected to retain employees when they do not offer competitive wages, funding keeps being reduced and departments have to beg for essentials. I'm saddened by the fact that the possibility of losing trash pickup is a greater concern than ambulances breaking down, officer safety, providing meals to seniors, keeping a newly built library open and providing quality education in properly maintained schools.
Tiverton is still growing although members of the committee state people are leaving in droves. Currently Tiverton only has 84 MLS listings for single family homes; 14 of these MLS listings are listed as under contract or in inspection period. Portsmouth currently has 85 MLS listings. Our school enrollment has increased since full-day K has been offered. Elementary schools are at student capacity and the bus my child rides to the middle school is full when it reaches its last student pick up. I'm not sure where committee members saw empty buses as recently stated but they look pretty full when they drop off our 562 middle school students.
Every citizen and department should be fairly considered when planning our community budget. Those on fixed incomes, hardworking families, young, old, everyone. We all live here together and share the community we have invested in.