Opinion: For sake of future, Brandon voters must compromise

My interest was piqued by recent letters in the Reporter (July 30 edition) and Gene Pagano’s letter to the Herald. I must say I am beginning to think Brandon is doing an impression of the Israelites when they were in the wilderness for 40 years.
I believe people have certain things set in their minds, such as less police officers and not having a full-time recreation director. I understand that after the budget passed last year there can be an assumption that was what the townspeople wanted. However, I believe the board didn’t listen to the public and they said enough after the successful vote last year. Now there is hell to pay. I believe the public made a line in the sand and the board crossed it last year, thus the issues with this year’s budget.
Mr. Meffe in his letter thought people could go without a few sodas a year to help pay for the increased taxes. I beg to differ. I have friends who need a new furnace and other necessities. And with the price of gas and other expenses going up people, especially older people on a moderate fixed income, feel they don’t have the money. And there are many people who retired and live on a fixed pension and Social Security that sacrificed for years such that when they retired they might enjoy a couple of “extra sodas.”
However, as their pension didn’t increase and Social Security did a minor increase, they have to choose what bills to pay and what they can do without. That being said, there are areas that I agree with Mr. Meffe on. The drug issue is going to get worse before it gets better. And as he said in his letter when someone needs the police at 2 a.m. and they are home and in bed the response time will be longer. And let’s face it, when one needs the police they want them there sooner rather than later.
As to Devon Fuller’s letter, he is correct about emotions running high. And again, I believe this is directly related to last year’s budget and other issues, i.e., the town manager and so on. And some blame for “misinformation” is the board’s fault as well as the public’s. Some people just vote on a tax dollar amount and they don’t care to be informed of the details.
Devon goes on to praise Robin Bennett in his letter. Plans are great yet they need to be put into practice. I don’t know how many meetings I’ve heard “I am working on this issue or that one.” And I have heard and seen the displeasure of board members over the lack of timely information. Projects like Segment 6 and negotiating with the insurance company, etc., are nice to list though not very impressive to me. And experience, while nice, isn’t always an indicator of a successful tenure. I agree things are worse than what many people imagined and knew about. But the loss of staff before and not related to the BUDGET is a major concern. I believe the work environment is suffering dearly in Brandon right now.
That leads to Gene Pagano’s letter related to the Highway Department. The work that isn’t getting done aren’t jobs that would be nice to do with extra time and money. It is the daily maintenance of the road system, which is falling apart. Brandon’s quaint New England village is suffering drastically. Route 7 in a couple years will look great while all around it is falling to pieces. Your gateways into town are horrible and that is the impression people get first. And you can’t re-do a first impression.
Listen, now listen, I have said in the past there are budgetary needs not being addressed now. The delinquent taxes, if ever received, will help a little bit. I would use half the property taxes that are delinquent as a “rainy day fund” and the rest of the $600,000 towards infrastructure. Some people want less police and less cruisers and others want the full complement. So agree to disagree civilly.
When all is said and done, I would ask the town manager for her resignation. I would use the fiscal year just ending budget amount and go from there as to what gets what money. And I would do my damnedest to publicize everything Brandon is doing. 
Brian E. Fillioe

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