January 18, 2020

Dangerous to Attribute Motives on Budget Voting

Letter To The Editor:

Recently I was dismayed to read a letter in your publication regarding the motives and background of the people who voted against the budget at the town meeting. I find it a dangerous practice to attribute motives to people’s actions. How does Mr. James know what their motives are? I know I never spoke with him. Did he survey all the participants in that meeting?

It seems he knows little about their contributions to the town. There were people there who have given of their time to Planning and Zoning commissions, Park and Recreation, Conservation Boards, School Boards and who served on the Library Board. As well, many of these same people have spent hours in volunteer services to keep our town as lovely as it truly is. I daresay many, if not all of the people present are financial supporters of our library, fire department and ambulance. It appeared to me there were people there who had spent hours studying the budget thoroughly and had no desire to embarrass anybody.

We all love Essex, and I would guess that each of us has our own reasons for our “yes” or “no” vote on the budget. I know of no organized cabal to overthrow the desires of the people of Essex. Perhaps many who voted “no” feel that our budget is too high for those who have had to go on food stamps (100% increase in 3 years) or those who have had liens put on their homes because they are struggling to pay current taxes. Perhaps some feel that with a declining enrollment at Essex Elementary School, the budget should have been held at no increase. Maybe some have recently lost jobs or are struggling to sell their homes. I drove down Maple Avenue yesterday and there were at least 4 homes for sale on that short street. Perhaps some who are on fixed incomes and worry about maintaining their own budgets for food and medicines just know that they can’t afford any increase at all.

The criticism is well deserved that many people didn’t make their concerns known at the budget hearings or workshops. But now that they have asked to be heard, it is unfair and unwise to suggest that they are trying to harm our town or those who currently serve as administrators. And perhaps there will be more questions on the 31st at the hearing. For instance, I still don’t understand why the contingency fund, if not used during the year for an emergency, is placed in another category. Why don’t we have a policy of rolling it over to the next year?

I won’t attempt to guess what is in someone’s heart when they cast a vote and truly resent it when someone, unknown to me, does so.


Linda K. Dwyer
Essex, CT