To the Editor:
July 1, 2011, and soon taxpayers in Johnston will be receiving their 2012 tax bills. Then we may begin to hear, “Why the increase in the tax rate?” That is sure to happen. That’s why the evening of the budget hearing, I did ask, “Where are they, the taxpayers? Why is this room empty?” That was the time to question, and maybe even offer a suggestion or two.
At the present time, the Town of Johnston is a quiet little town, unlike in the past, when elected officials were more concerned about themselves than those that they represented. Like the entire United States of America, Johnston is experiencing difficult financial times. We are not immune to the rising cost associated with proper operation of our town. However, we don’t have the luxury of printing more money; our dollars come from you. Do you care?
What your tax dollars pay for: school department, $37 million; police department, $11 million; fire department, $13 million. Then we still have our highway department, parks and recreation, municipal employees, garbage pickup, etc. The cost of doing business, or running a town, increases year after year and the only solution, according to many, is just layoff people. That’s the simple answer. We had only one person who attended our budget meeting and his solution was, “Don’t pay all board members; they should be volunteers.” However, I don’t believe he was serious. He was in attendance just to argue with our mayor. I guess he did not get what he was looking for from the town.
Today, Johnston is run like a tight ship, unlike yesterday when we were all subjected to wasteful spending. I not only spoke out, but also write many letters, but no one listened or cared. Then comes election time, and those seeking office who have never attended a Town Council meeting, as well as never having to make a decision, know the answers to all of this town’s problems.
I was disappointed at the lack of interest with our budget hearing. I know now the naysayers and malcontents will emerge once again and tell anyone willing to listen they have the answers and our current group of elected officials are only concerned about themselves. Where were they yesterday, during the reign of the prior administration? Don’t just write letters of complaint, or talk over a cup of coffee, or even when conversing with your neighbors, step up to the plate and publicly express your concerns or solutions. You’re all welcome to attend a Town Council meeting when you can give a minute of your time to your town.
Please don’t subject our town employees who work in the tax assessor’s office, or those who collect your taxes, with verbal abuse. They are only doing their jobs. If you do have a complaint, legitimate or otherwise, come tell it to the Town Council; we will listen.
Become involved in your town government; please do.
Ernest Pitochelli, Sr.
District 2 Councilman