First, let me congratulate the efforts of the Library Committee and the volunteers who worked hard and won the special election for the funding of a new library and renovation of the old Town Hall. Second, I want to congratulate the other voters of Shelburne for beginning to realize we are spending way beyond our means. We need to begin to understand and know we cannot have everything just because it feels good and others have it. I hope this is the beginning for the voters to come to this conclusion.
I would like to point out that to some voters that they may have won the financial battle but they have not won the financial war. If I look ahead five years from now I see a much different Shelburne – a Shelburne suffering from financial woes. We will continue to pay for the wasteful spending mistakes resulting from the poor financial decisions of the town leadership over the past several years, costs will rise as the result of diminished support of education from the federal and state levels, school taxes will increase, we will continue to pay for increases in teachers’ salary and benefits well above the average of other employed individuals, a minimum of six full-time firemen and six full-time rescue squad personnel will be needed and repairs and maintenance of our municipal buildings will be necessary, to name a few. All these items will require a great deal of money.
We have become a town of too many wants. This means too many bests and nice things to have versus too many vital, important, and required needs. It will catch up with us.
We will become a town where many elderly individuals, many native Shelburne residents, and those less fortunate town residents will not be able to afford to live in Shelburne anymore. We will become a town of those who have everything versus those who have little. That will be a shame. I personally know several individuals who have moved out of the town of Shelburne because of the high cost of living here and in Vermont.
I encourage and urge the voters of the town of Shelburne to think about the comments above when the next election rolls around. Ask yourself – can we continue to spend for “wants” versus “needs” which causes us to spend well above our means?
Carroll A. “Bud” Ockert