Letter to the Editor: Where did all the money go?

Photo by Sam Deeb

To the editor:

 

Before we give the town another dime, we need to know exactly where we are, and where the money has been spent. At present we are in a rudderless skiff, drifting upon the ocean, captain AWOL. The Select Board is failing in its leadership role.

The roads are in ruins, the parks and public spaces do not get mowed nearly as often. They talk about a structural deficit, but who created that? In part, it is because of an inability to come to the negotiating table with town unions, and hold the line when need be. The town administrator and the Select Board talk about a 3, 4, or 6 percent increase in the budget, but not if we can’t afford it.

If without the overrides, the budget will increase 1.8 percent, then that is what it is. They are trying to scare us by talking about layoffs, especially in the schools. How about focusing on teachers, and not administration and contracts that are unnecessary to provide something that is already being done.

There is too much waste. We need detailed accountings of where the money went. What happened to, specifically, the American Rescue Plan Act Funds, $6 million over two years? What is happening with the $10 million for roads? They would have us believe they got started with the rail trails and the Village and Pleasant intersection, but no, those are separate federal funds. The roads are in ruins.

And they now suggest that another override will be necessary next year. So, what, the average house will be paying more in property tax, $1,000 plus over three years?

Enough, focus on the things that matter. Tighten your belts. Spend more time on the delivery of town services, than pronouns, gender, equity, diversity. Those things are important, but honestly, if you weren’t the kind of person that always treated people the way they should be treated, what does that say? Black lives have always mattered, but unless you have gone to Roxbury, Dorchester, and Lawrence, help fight evictions and foreclosures, or mentored young Black men without fathers, I don’t want to hear it.

Some want a sustainable Marblehead, but let’s move in that direction in a timely and sensible way, and not turn our future over to the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese have the lithium and other materials we need for our batteries. And where will the used batteries be disposed of? These are things that need to be considered before we rush to some arbitrary date to be carbon-neutral. Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, more than 20 years ago, said we had 10 years to change things. We can, but what about China, Mexico, Brazil, India, and others, building coal plants on a weekly basis. The Paris Accords treat China like a developing nation. Really?

So instead of throwing money at a green czar, or whatever they will be called, find people in town government who can wear or share that hat. God knows the “sustainables” are hypocrites, talk the game, but go to the meetings in their gas-guzzling station wagons; no different than John Kerry, the others at the Davos World Economic Forum, and Hollywood’s private jets.

Marblehead Forever, but not if this board and administrator have anything to do with it. Hopefully they will stop being disingenuous to be polite and more forthcoming. Until then, no more money.

 

Sincerely,

Sean Murphy
Marblehead resident