, Salem, MA

October 10, 2013

Letter: Make your voice heard at Town Meeting

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

On Oct. 15, there is a Special Town Meeting in Ipswich, not to be confused with the annual Town Meeting when the budget and finances are on the agenda.

This year the Special Town Meeting has on its agenda the spending of taxpayers’ dollars. Why? Usually the fall Special Town Meeting is called to deal with a particular function or unique purpose, like changes in zoning, something unusual that doesn’t generally draw the same interest from the community.

This year, the special meeting will be asking you to break from this tradition and spend approximately $1.7 million of your free cash (look up free cash and its available use on the state website).

Free cash is the taxpayers’ money. Where did it come from? Why do taxpayers have to approve its use? Where has it been for the last 30 to 40 years? Why have your taxes gone up 27 percent the last 10 years, while property values have gone down 20 percent? Why is the stabilization fund so low? The state suggests free cash should go to the stabilization fund or returned to taxpayers for tax relief. Read it on the state website.

If you are not in the 20 percent who are not struggling to get by, show up and vote or ask questions. It is your money; where has it gone and where is it going? Who is looking out and advocating for the taxpayer?

Let the town officials know that continued spending of your tax dollars is not sustainable. When your taxes go up, can you go in to your employer and say you need a raise because your taxes have gone up? They may show you the door or explain they have had to cut expenses to survive and you should cut your own expenses or tell your town officials to cut expenses.

Ipswich has had very little population growth, but taxes continue to go up. Why? Are you being taken for granted because you don’t question the spending and accountability?

Go to the Special Town Meeting. Don’t be intimidated or misled. Show up and make your voices heard.

Phil Goguen