I beg Scott's indulgence on this one, but something rather amusing happened this evening; I thought my fellow AMG'ers might appreciate it (and my Fire Department fan club lurking out there!).
There was a public hearing this evening on the proposed West Kennebunk fire station, to discuss sending the $2M proposal to a special town meeting in November. ($650K from surplus, the rest to be bonded).
Along with the other proposed expenditures on the special town meeting warrant, the total they want to spend out of surplus would be $1,019,000, and $1.4M bonding, at least so far.
As we have done before, I stated that spending this much money out of surplus (before we know how much the new school budget bill will be), and outside the normal budget process, is at best foolhardy.
I stated (as I have before) that I support the need for a new firestation, but would prefer to see something in a steel building, for maybe $800K. I'd like to see the FD get every single amenity they need, but if it can be done cheaper, for the same quality, why not investigate that possibility?
After I finished speaking, a woman named Carolyn got up, and proceeded to warn the audience that they should listen to the "experts," who want the $2M stick built station. And furthermore, she said, the "public should be careful who else they listened to, and JUST WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE those are." (can we tell yet what's coming?). :)
She then read part of my post she had printed out from an AMG thread Scott started a while back (on a new political group in Kennebunk that organized as a result of town meeting).
Because, as she stated, I had written "boo hoo" and "firestation Taj Mahal," this evidently discredits my analytical abilities, and by gosh, just goes to PROVE what a horrible example of homo sapiens I must be!!!
Mind you, Carolyn, I am CONVINCED that the fire department, the volunteers, and their many helpers have NEVER uttered one [u]single naughty syllable or bad word[/u] about the KTA, or any of OUR members, or the work we do. NOOOOOOOOOO. Perish the thought.
Sitting around the firehouse, I'm quite sure the topic never comes up. But that if it did, well, nothing but sweetness and light would emanate from their rosebud lips.
Here's the scoop, folks.
#1. We, the taxpayers, pay the bills. We fund the money that pays for the firefighter stipends, the fulltime salaries, the benefits, the equipment, the utilities, and all the rest of it. Including any new firehouse. While we appreciate the essential and important work you do, that does NOT negate #2 on this list.
#2. We have a right to our opinions on how our tax dollars are being spent. If you don't like it, talk to the Founding Fathers. It's called the First Amendment, as I reminded the board's chairman (again) this evening.
#3. Questioning how our tax money is spent does not make us bad people. It's our right, and for you to suggest otherwise, and to get all huffy about it, is downright Un-American.
#4. The town may have spent $77K so far investigating this project, but that is not sufficient reason to throw good money after bad. It wouldn't be the first time the town has wasted thousands of tax dollars on various proposals over the last couple years.
Ask Barry Tibbetts when we'll see the $50K the first bus barn contractor owes us, or about the $50K the Community Center spent trying to sell us that piece of municipal overkill.
What about the failed Hallmark project? Ask Barry how much that cost the town, and the neighboring abutters who lost a gorgeous piece of reclaimed wilderness.
In short, Carolyn, you can trot out all the guys in their fire shirts, and sit at meetings glaring at us all you want to, but it won't change the facts.
The voters who pay the bills will decide the issue on November 15th, and if it doesn't go your way, it's because people are fed up with being taxed into the poor house.
It isn't because the KTA are rotten, horrible people, or that we hate firefighters. That might be a convenient excuse for you to hang it on, but it is not the truth.
The truth is that after ten straight years of tax increases, especially from the school district, there is nothing left to spend "just because it would be nicer" to have a brick building instead of a steel building.
Thanks for listening, and since I'm sure Duffy and Steve (the deputy chief, and the chief) will be getting their copies of this thread, too ---- howdy to you guys too!
[b](Disclaimer - I am speaking on this thread [i]for myself,[/i] as a private resident, not as a member of the Kennebunk Taxpayers' Association or Steering Committee. Others on that committee have the right to their own opinions, which may or may not coincide with mine).[/b]