I have been a resident of Francestown since 2011. I am alarmed by certain trends and this has prompted me to run for office. We pay more in taxes and receive less in services as our property values decline.
Property taxes have risen approximately 3.5 percent annually over the past 10 years, and have averaged 3.9 percent over the past five years. In the 2015 Budget Committee Report, the committee stated that they were “very concerned over the sustainability of continued increases in the amount of taxes to be raised by taxation…” yet this red flag has been ignored and our taxes have continued to rise. As a former CPA, I would refocus our efforts on greater operating efficiencies utilizing professional management practices. In six years we have doubled the cost of the executive line item, with no appreciable increase in services. The Highway Department has no computerized records. The Police Department’s patrol hours are not tracked yet our police budget has increased by more than 30 percent since Chief Bell.
In 2014 the town re-valued property with a decline, on average, of 15 percent. Sales since this time reflect an even greater further decline.
Community is not found in the acquisition of conservation land, nor in the failure to move the Town Hall project forward, nor in disregarding suggestions put forth during town run visioning sessions. I believe community lies not a geographic designation but lies, rather, in the spirit of the town’s people. Therefore, I would be a staunch advocate for completion of the Town Hall, as well as working toward revitalization of our historic downtown. Furthermore, we need to support programs for our children and for our seniors.
I stand for better fiscal management, adherence to realistic budgetary targets and stronger community involvement that welcomes the input of all Francestown residents.