To the Editor:
It’s Time for Marion To Deal with The Elephant in the Room
“You can deal with this!” This is what my children tell me when I am faced with unpleasant tasks and expenses. Marion, we need to deal with neglect and mismanagement of our Town assets. These costs have come home for payment. There is really no choice if you continue living in Marion.
We all have an ownership interest in the common community assets base: buildings, equipment, water, sewer, and roads. These assets need to be replaced, maintained, and repaired. Without capital spending, the Town’s infrastructure effectively dies from lack of capital nourishment. This is the result of years of unfunded accumulated depreciation and deferred maintenance. The longer investment is deferred the more it costs. These are not special interest projects looking to raid the community treasury.
For the first time in a decade, Marion has a majority board of selectmen competent and capable to form a leadership base to get Marion back on track after a train wreck. The help wanted sign is out for capable and experienced citizens to volunteer for boards and committees to run and manage our community.
The selectmen are not only dealing with significant asset management issues but EPA regulatory compliance deadlines and contentious litigations with the Buzzards Bay Coalition. The Selectmen are tasked with the extraordinary event of rebuilding the senior management team with a new Town Administrator, DPW Director, and Treasurer Tax Collector. These guys could use community help and support in managing and minimizing the adverse consequence of all work necessary to start cleaning up this mess.
Monday, May 13 is the annual Town Meeting. This is the time we gather as a collective body to determine how we will run our community, make choices, set priorities, spending, and then vote on the due’s assessment. Yes, there is a forecasted 7.78% tax impact in addition to adverse adjustments in water and sewer rates.
Town Meeting will deal with $40.8 million of spending authorizations, approvals, and commitments for fiscal year 2020.
First $29.1 million is for the three operating budgets: Town $23.7 million, sewer $3.1 million, and water $2.2 million. This is financed by taxes and enterprise fund user fees.
Second $11.7 is capital spending; including $3.5 from money on hand; sewer $5.1 million and water $3.1 million. There are also $1.2 million of Community Preservation Act projects for approval including $800,000 to start work on the Town House. Debt authorizations are $8 million to carry water and sewer project financing.
Public Information Meetings are scheduled for Music Hall April 18, spending, and May 9, trash issues and warrant articles.
Ted North, Marion
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