Hubby and I hadn't planned on attending the third and final reading of our town's budget and property tax increase proposal. The phone rang about 4:00 and one of the alderman was on the phone. She called to make sure we were coming and she was quite upset about what could possibly happen at the meeting. We went. I filled out a comment card and when my name was called, I spoke, unprepared, to the Board and those gathered.
I thanked the Board for their hard work and reminded them I had addressed them weeks before at one of the public information sessions on this issue. I commented that audience contained some faces of folks who I hadn't seen before at the over 5 meetings on this issue and I congratulated them on attending and participating. It is important. I reminded the Board that I'm one of the 714 Town volunteers who donates a lot of time and talent to the Town, in my case, the Library. I thanked those on the Board who take an interest in the Library and said we don't see several of them over 'there' very often, if at all.
I spoke on how I love our Town and how we all understand times are tough. I spoke on how after 17 years of being at home, I've returned to work because times are tough and we need the money I can bring in to the family. I spoke on how taxes are an issue of perspective and that moving here from another part of the country, we felt we were getting a huge deal for our tax dollars and that after 8 years, we are still getting a huge deal. A lot of other places pay so much more and get so much less.
I asked them to support the budget and the proposed tax increase as I felt that it was our last option. Then I sat down.
Shortly thereafter a 'man'....I use that term loosely, leaned forward from three rows back and told me to get out a checkbook and pay his taxes then move back north.
Really. My hubby said, "That is not necessary." The guy sat back down.
The vote went 3-2 and the budget and increase passed. Ironically, on the first and second readings, the two alderman who cast nay votes voted in support of both the budget and the increase...they were the ones who actually initially proposed the .25 cent number and made the motion and the second.
As soon as the vote happened, the 'man' got up and stormed out with several of his friends. I was only one of three tonight who spoke in favor of the budget. The other five folks spoke against it.
Afterwards, several Town employees thanked me. Well, that is nice, but it wasn't really about them. It is about us. You get what you pay for and I like the life we live here. I'm willing to pay a little more for it. Other folks aren't. They are entitled to voice their opinion just like I am, even if they get a bit Ugly about it.
But, our Town is a small one, and I bet I hear more about the man who scolded me. I'm pretty sure he's in the Sunday school class of one of the gals who also spoke in favor! Now isn't that funny!!
Just some excitement for a Monday night.