NEWRY CHARTER NOT BEST PLAN
After attending Newry's selectmen's meeting Tuesday morning, I came home with some pretty troubling thoughts. So, I decided to ask some questions and do a little homework.
Newry has been a town for a little over 200 years. Yes, things have changed over that period of time, But, to take the steps that Mr. Morton is suggesting would be devastating. (To our wallets anyway.)
I'm sure his intentions are good; however, his ideas are not. I know that living in Newry we have one of the lowest tax rates in the state. Something I don't want to change. If a charter were to become the norm then I'm sure it would. And not for the better.
Mr. Morton's idea of a charter calls for a Town Manager, a Tax Collector, a Town Clerk and a Town Treasurer. Now, Newry has a Town Administrator, who does the job of the latter three.
Consolidating these jobs in a small town is a great thing. Having a Town Administrator that can handle this workload and get it done is money in the taxpayer's pocket – something we all want.
Why would we want to pay for two or three more people? Their salaries, their insurance, workman's comp, etc. It just doesn't make sense. Then the charter would call for more selectmen. Guess what that means? More people to pay!
After reading over Mr. Morton's case for a charter, I have to wonder his motives? He states that “We have created a position that is operating outside of the rule of law.” The so-called “Position” that we created, Town Administrator. A position that many towns across our great state have.
He goes on to say that a Town Manager cannot hold the offices of Town Clerk, Tax Collector and Town Treasurer. If that's the case sound the alarm! Newry isn't the only town operating outside the rule of law. I do believe Bethel's Town Manager holds two of those positions well.
If Mr. Morton's thinking is in a different direction, then please explain. I see no need to pursue this charter any more. Financially it's a bad idea. I think that's why the other two selectmen voted against this proposal. Not for “Lack of intellectual effort.”
After sitting through the rest of the meeting and listening to selectman Morton's concerns, I heard him push for a Road Commissioner and a Town Attorney as well. I see no problem with advice from MMA. He on the other hand thinks they are “Promoting their own agenda.” Here again, two more positions that are going to cost us taxpayers more money.
Either Mr. Morton has his own agenda and no problem spending a lot of our money or he was misinformed by his small assembly of townspeople.
I'm all for rules, regulations and going by the book. If that's what you want, then let's sit down as a town and voice our concerns and make some. What I';m not about is spending my tax dollars and hidden agendas.
A charter is a road that Newry has no business taking. As for the agendas, let's put 'em out there.
(Note: Jason Berry is the son of Newry Town Administrator Loretta Powers)