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Capital Budget?

On Aug. 13, Kurt Friedman made an in depth presentation to the Longmeadow Select Board regarding the new water/sewer rates. He presented a whole list of numbers, none of which were disputed by the Board, so I take them as valid. One number that appears on the FY '08 budget but has no corresponding figure for FY '07 is $825,000 listed as "Capital Budget." We did not show this number in prior years. I personally called a Select Board member and a friend called his contacts to ascertain the reason for this amount.

In all cases, our contacts played dumb saying they knew nothing about the $825,000. (I wonder if they were playing dumb!)

Massachusetts has an open meeting law so that items such as this cannot be lost under the radar. The Board is required to fully disclose the why's and where's of this $825,000. It's as good as an override without the approval vote of the Legislature (Town Meeting) or a vote at the general election. If they can just add such a large amount without public knowledge or approval, what do we need Prop 2 1/2 for? They can get their money the old-fashioned way by some sort of subterfuge.

Select Board, give us the figures and allow the citizens to vote on an increase at the next town meeting. It makes for good participatory government, and it's the law!

Sam Altman