If the Town Council follows through with the Budget Committee’s threat to end trash pickup in Tiverton (or charge extra for it), it will be because elected officials and their supporters want to teach taxpayers not to attempt to control their taxes. But the real lesson will be that we must be more careful about whom we elect to office.
At the May 21 financial town referendum (FTR), 1,224 voters out of 2,210 approved Budget #2, for a 0.9% tax increase, resulting in zero increase in the property tax rate. That made supporters of a much-bigger tax increase angry; here are some examples of things that they wrote on the Facebook page of the local activist group Tiverton 1st:
- May 21. Budget Committee member Deborah Scanlon Janick: “Make sure you all personally thank Justin Katz when you lose the services you are used to.” (Somebody even printed up business cards at this time, telling people to call my cell phone and complain.)
- May 22. Former Town Council Vice President Joanne Arruda: “First thing… snow plowing… I know this is awful, but those people who put in this budget out there and had their minions vote for it will have to be affected.”
- May 22. Tiverton 1st organizer Mike Silvia: “… in this town, the uninformed and greedy followers who outnumber the community-minded aren’t smart enough to know they’re being played.”
- May 26: Tiverton 1st activist, school department employee, and school committee candidate Linda Larsen: “Unfortunately, [voters] won’t care until they feel pain. … It won’t make a difference unless it becomes personal.”
- May 26: Tiverton 1st organizer Kelly Anne Levesque: “I would like to see trash pickup removed which will require you to schlep your maroon bags to the dump or hire a private company.”
- June 7: Deborah Scanlon Janick: “The residents of Tiverton will pay the price for voting for Budget 2 or for not voting at all.”