Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

It's town's, not my job to clean up snow
Robert P. Bergman (Lomas Drive) Friday, January 17, 2003
This is in response to the TAB editorial of 1/10/03, captioned "Lend a shovel to snow cleanup efforts".  I reject its tenor, and its imposition on the taxpayers of Framingham.  The Town of Framingham has been fiscally mismanaged for several years.  We have had, within the last 12 years, 3 successful overrides, and 1 (Community Preservation Act), that failed.  And, within a few months, we will face another, which, given the unique Framingham tradition, will certainly pass.

Your most recent editorial is founded on several predicates and a faulty conclusion:

  • The most recent snow storm complaints came from parents who are angry about the poor condition of sidewalks.
  • Given that the Town is financially destitute, your prescription is to devolve the sidewalk snow removal on its unfortunate abutters, i.e. those who live on the wrong side of the roadway.  In that regard, you are in good company. Selectman Vice-Chairman Sisitsky agrees with you, according to a recent article in the MetroWest Daily News.  You point out, as does he, some towns have bylaws that requre it.
  • Your solution, therefore, is to require abutters to not only do snow removal on their sidewalks, but further, to shovel out hydrants, and clean storm drains.  Further, you want such abutters to shovel out the walks of seniors, and, beyond that, do their errands as well.
My tax bill is already horrendous.  And now, you want me, and my neighbors, to be conscripted into an unpaid labor force to solve the needs of the Town.  I would point out to you that the last snow storm was 17 inches of heavy wet snow.  Should I have a heart attack, will the Town pay for my health care costs or my funeral?  Not likely.

What's next, in your prescription?  Should my neighbors be forced to snow-remove or pave the street, or deliver trash to the Haverhill incinerator directly?  Or should those of my neighbors who live on my street who have college degrees, be forced to teach in the schools on an unpaid basis?  How far does the analogy work?

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