Doris Vertz, your neighbor down the street, a lifelong registered nurse and your candidate for the Union Board of Selectmen, has listened to you as she went campaigning door to door.

One of the issues that was discussed is taxes. Some residents say the taxes are too high but other residents say the taxes are in line with other communities around here and some residents said they believed the taxes are lower than the surrounding communities — a wide diversity of opinions. But to control taxes is to control municipal spending and make sure our town government is efficient, accountable and affordable, my EAA platform.

The SAD 40 School Board Budget Committee will change the tax level. The board discussed a 2.1 percent increase but proposed its original budget of 2.9 percent increase. The voters need to decide whether they want a $21.4-plus million budget or a $21.1-plus million budget with a $288,000 in savings. In a draft of proposed local assessments dated April 14, Union’s assessment would be an increase of 1.93 percent, which equals a $34,716.64 increase.  The School Board was told to bring in a budget that was no higher than a 3 percent increase and that’s what the School Board will say it accomplished with the 2.9 percent increase. The board demonstrated it can go lower than 2.9 percent.

We voters need to attend these budget meetings so we know where our tax money is being directed and ask appropriate questions on expenditures. I attended these meetings and have directed letters of concern to the Commissioner of Education, Stephen Bowen, and Superintendent Francis Boynton.  We need to elect school board members who will help insure we get the most for our tax dollars as possible and look for new ways to save costs as a matter of routine.

Lyle Cramer stated he would institute a second reading policy which would work in the ideal world. However, we do not live in that type of world and need to meet the necessities that are important to the residents of the town on a timely basis.  Some policies can be delayed forever, it seems, and some need to be acted on quickly.   Public input is so important before critical decisions are made and by electing the right person to serve on the select board, there will be no need for a “second read” on decisions.  As your selectwoman, the residents of Union can be sure that they will have a strong voice in the decisions that affect them.

Updating ordinances, as suggested by Mr. Cramer, is a good idea but the town of Union has a Comprehensive Plan 2005-2015 that addresses current and future land use, plus fiscal capacity and capital improvements plan.  Along with the Comprehensive Plan is the Land Use Ordinance dated 2009, which includes pharmacy/sole source, mentioning methadone clinics and other similar facilities.  Each type of business that seeks to be established in Union must have approval of the board of selectmen, planning board, town manager and the code enforcement officer.  These are the checks and balances that would accommodate the town’s growth and development for future planning.  Union’s Land Use Ordinance Review committee has been active over the past few years and we are fortunate to have such dedicated committee members.

I belong to the Union Tea Party and opposed the $1 million bond issue for paving roads. Municipal spending must be backed by municipal funds. Spending must equal income.  The current budget for paviing/road construction is $222,600, with an extra $75,000 from fund balance (Article 26 and 41 on the town warrant).  With this budget amount, three miles of road could be paved per year. Union has numerous dirt roads and that’s the reality of the situation. In my door-to-door campaigning, some residents like living on a dirt road asking to keep the roads graded which is doable. The preferred solution to paving the roads in Union is to follow a sound short and long range plan based on a fiscally responsible operating budget.

In summary, I would like to add that we voters need to be aware of the warrant for the annual town meeting on June 20.  Please go to union.govoffice2.com and download a copy of the warrant with the articles that will be voted upon.  Let’s take a stand and do whatever is necessary to rein in wasteful spending of our tax dollars. Do some critical thinking on Articles 6, 9, 21, 22, 27, 29, 32, 41, 44.  As taxpayers, we need to know where we stand on these issues and will it save us tax dollars.

I have attended many select board meetings and am familiar with these articles and issues.  Also critical to an informed voter/resident population is the timeliness in receiving the town report, essential in making knowledgeable decisions.  As your selectwoman, I will work to build credibility, trust and unity in the town of Union.

Thank you for your consideration in giving me your vote on June 14.

Doris Vertz is a candidate for the Union Board of Selectmen
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