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March 1, 2013
To The Editor:
Yesterday I passed the Oriental Police Officer in a brand new car, near our brand new Town Hall, and a question came to mind, not for the first time over the last few years. And that question is, “Where in the world is the money coming from?”
When I arrived in Oriental 25 years ago, we had a population of about 800. At that time, there was no Town Manager, and as I recall there was a part-time Clerk, who basically ran the town. I believe there were no more than 3 or 4 full-time employees, who took care of the water plant, sewer and collected the garbage each week. We no longer are responsible for sewer or garbage collection, and yet the number of employees seems to have doubled or tripled.
Now, if the population had doubled or tripled I could make sense of this, but I believe the 2010 census indicates our population has increased to a whooping 900 residents. Again I ask, “Where in the world is the money coming from?”
I have been to a number of Town Board meetings, and it seems like the intent with all the rules and procedures, is to keep public input and awareness to a minimum.
Why is the town budget not published in the paper each year, before it is voted on? Why does no one seem to know what the Town Hall renovations cost, and why weren’t we consulted ahead of time?
I would like to see the Town Manager publish a full accounting of what this obscene Town Hall cost, and how we are paying for it.
I will close with a reminder to the Town Manager and the Board…you work for us. If you don’t behave in that manner, I hope people will remember at the next election.
Peter A. Ritchie
I have been reading, and hearing about, the story about the Town Hall. I think what bothers me the most is that the Mayor, once again, has tried to establish what is and what isn’t important. He and I have tussled about that many times. It’s my belief that that’s not his job. Obviously, he disagrees.
The commissioners have the power of the vote and the power to set what’s important. It is their responsibility to oversee the running of the Town. If something’s wrong, it’s within their power to correct it, or deem it not important. That power is theirs to hold, or give away.
I applaud Mr. Johnson for standing up and asking Mr. Maxbauer questions. This way mistakes can be ferreted out and adjustments can be made. It’s important to everyone, especially Mr. Maxbauer, that this particular project be free from rumors and mystery. Sometimes the public glare is annoying, but it’s always beneficial when the facts are known.
The writer is a former Oriental Town Commissioner.
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