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Battle for Fiscal Sanity Has Begun

Citizens of Longmeadow, the battle for fiscal sanity has begun. With this letter, I ask you to pay attention to what our various boards are doing, and get involved, if you can.

In July 2007 the Select Board, without approval of the citizens of Longmeadow, announced a new Water/Sewer rate schedule that will raise an additional $820,000/year in water fees that will double or triple some water bills.

Early in September 2007, the Budget Strategies Committee voted to support a $2,150,000 override for a total additional financial burden of $2,970,000 on our already heavily taxed citizens. Almost $3,000,000 in NEW taxes, the highest in our history.

Selectman Scibelli is quoted as saying in a newspaper story the override would cost the average household $170. Where have I heard those kind of promises before? My new water rate is projected to cost me an additional $500/year three times my property tax increase. More for water than real estate? Something's screwy!

Who are the people who compose this new UNELECTED Budget Strategy Committee? Two members are on the Select Board, two on the School Committee, and the other two from other town committees. It seems the same people populate our old and new boards. They just seem to move the bodies around.

How are they selected? These six were never elected to their positions on the Budget Survey Committee. We should have a different group of people, with fresh, new ideas. Inbreeding restricts our thinking. It's the reason incest is outlawed. I am only one person who is trying to review this situation. We have already decided the Water/Sewer "robbery" will not go unchallenged.

Remember, the Select Board mandated an $820,000 increase in Water/Sewer, and two members of the Budget Strategies Committee are from the Select Board and voted to support the $2,100,000 override. These add up to $2,970,000 in NEW taxes and fees. We are not against an override, per se, just against unreasonable requests.

Write our local newspapers or call the Select Office at 565-4110. You wanted this type of participatory form of government! Use our right to speak up.

Samuel W. Altman