To the editor:
I am personally pleased with the performance of the Harrietstown town board over the years. Their work is getting done quietly and efficiently, and I think most everyone knows this to be true. Unfortunately, there are some who would rather distort facts so as to win votes, without an understanding of the basics of good, responsible government. Rich Shapiro's letter to the editor, published Oct. 29, is such an example, and I feel a civic responsibility to provide a rebuttal.
1. Fund balance: Town governments budget for a fund balance (reserve) of at least several months of operating expense in the event of emergencies. The fund balance is taxpayers' dollars that the town HAS NOT SPENT by being vigilant and should be returned to where it came from, back into the taxpayers' pockets. We are all grateful when our governments find ways to keep our taxes low! Mr. Shapiro, however, implies that Tom Catillaz would rather the town not return the taxpayers' money to reduce the tax burden but instead raise our taxes while allowing the "piggy bank" to grow and grow over the years. Looking at Tom Catillaz's record of back-to-back 12 percent and 12.5 percent tax increases when mayor certainly gives proof to this!
2. Farmers market: I was part of the chamber of commerce board a few years ago, advocating the use of the town hall for a winter farmers market. I spoke with the farmers market leader and with the town's Building Committee. All were open to this idea, BUT the farmers market never submitted their application - perhaps they weren't ready. This year the farmers market seems ready for a winter market and submitted its application, which was approved. Simple process, but not understood by Tom Catillaz. He thinks he actually did this!
3. Trudeau Institute: For months, the village has promoted annexing of Trudeau into the village limits, ostensibly to save them some cost of water. Now that the director of Trudeau has issued a statement that Trudeau is not seeking annexation, the wind has gone out of that argument. The fact is - for ALL of our employers - we have an interest in seeing that they are able to flourish here. There is now a Local Development Corporation which has several committees, one of which is Economic and Business Development. One responsibility of this committee is to STRENGTHEN EXISTING BUSINESSES. What better opportunity to search for ways in which we can assist our businesses than through this channel? Mr. Shapiro would have us believe that the village and town boards need only to meet to discuss Trudeau. What about all the other employers in the community? Are they not important enough?
Bob Bevilacqua has remained above this type of misinformation and has demonstrated integrity in thought and deed, commitment to his community, a responsible approach and a real sense of what "working together" for a better community means for all taxpayers. Do not be fooled by misinformation. Look at the records.