To the editor:
On June 13, the Tiverton Taxpayers Association (TTA) sent eight questions to all 24 Charter Review Commission (CRC) candidates because it believes “that the recommendations made by this Commission will drive Tiverton’s fiscal policy and property taxes for years to come.” Twelve of the 24 candidates remained silent, not answering the direct and specific questions.
In previous statements over the years, the now-silent candidates have, however, called Budget Committee members (i.e., their neighbors) “no better than Stalin, Lenin, or even Kim Jung Un,” declared “shame on you” to anybody who did not support a tax increase, argued for increased town employee pay, referred to an elector petition as “shady numbers,” and called for “compromise” which was proven last week to be code for higher taxes.
Researching the past positions of other silent-but-familiar candidates shows that they routinely support positions against the taxpayer: eliminating the FTR and putting the Town Council in charge of budgets and taxes, eliminating the Budget Committee, neutering the FTR elector petition by increasing the signature count from 50 to over 1,000, using as little as one-third of the casino revenue for tax relief, and insinuating that holding the line on tax increases for all taxpayers was somehow “self-serving.”
It doesn’t take but so much imagination to suggest that the nebulous “silence” of these candidates indicates that they know that a candidate who is against the popular FTR and tax relief will not be elected. Some of them complain that their positions on the FTR are misunderstood or will be “spun.” Really? One of the questions simply asks what the elector petition signature count should be.
The TTA questions and candidate answers (see tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/crc2017) reveal that the TTA endorsed slate will not revamp the town’s budget process, leaving plenty of time to thoroughly review the whole charter. The TTA candidate platform specifically includes: “Update and Improve the Charter: The role of the Charter Review Commission is to review and consider past experience and public input to recommend improvements to the Charter.” The TTA-endorsed slate will fulfill this primary duty, but without undermining the FTR, a win-win for taxpaying voters.
A successful charter review process requires logical and critical thinking. The TTA slate includes two attorneys who are very familiar with the charter, a former town councilor, four former or current Budget Committee members, six former or current engineers (all with business experience), three who have mounted campaigns for General Assembly seats, and both co-chairs of the 2010–2011 committee that wrote the FTR charter change, one of them having also served on the 2003 CRC.
In short, the assembled TTA Candidate slate is competent, dedicated, and stands ready to exceed expectations for the benefit of the townspeople.
Candidate for the Charter Review Commission.