As we have mentioned in a previous blog, the Road management Committee’s report was submitted to the Board of Selectmen (BOS) at the January 3, 2017 meeting. detailed-report
We would have loved to bring you video of the BOS reactions. A battery malfunction occurred and we were unable to capture the full flavor of the nuttiness that occurred.
There was a lot of silliness brought forth by Mr. Fortner regarding some personal dislike he has with how the committee went about doing their work. It seems he and Chairman Blomback feel that the committee’s work was cloaked in secrecy.
Question! Why would an advisory committee charged with evaluating the roads want to operate in the dark? Mr. Fortner has suggested to disband the committee altogether;
- BOS meeting September 20, 2016 : “Selectman Fortner stated that we don’t know what the current charge of the committee is, there is no defined scope and the committee is outside of regulation. He proposed to disband the committee and develop a scope and makeup. Chair Blomback felt that the current committee members were uniquely qualified to bring their skill sets to the committee and equated it to trading in for a new car or fixing what we already have.”
Chair Blomback made a motion to increase the RMC committee to 9 members, one selectman and one planning board member and to make it a standing committee. Selectman Osgood seconded. Motion passed 4-1 (Fortner)Selectman Osgood made a motion that the charge of the RMC would be as follows: The Road Management Committee’s function is to support the highway department and select board in the maintenance and building of the transportation infrastructure of this town. This support includes providing advice on scheduling, work priorities, materials, design, contracting and any other responsibilities of the highway department.Vice Chair Hooper seconded. Motion passed 4-1 (Fortner).
Mr. Osgood’s response to the report was that the town could not afford to pay for these repairs and suggested we lobby The State House to consider increasing the gas tax. Question, is it not correct that the gas tax money comes from our pockets?
Lastly, OHB is saddened that the Chairman Blomback’s first response to funding is looking for more “free” government grant money. I thought we would have learned by now that grant money has overbuilt this town to the point that we cannot afford to maintain all that the “free” grant money of the past has created. Our big small government syndrome…for which we currently suffer greatly.
- The number of grants-in-aid programs rose from 15 in 1930 to 132 by 1960. The largest expansion of federal granting during this period was the 1956 law authorizing the building of the interstate highway system.However, it was during the 1960s that federal aid really exploded. Under President Lyndon Johnson, aid programs were added for housing, urban renewal, education, health care, and many other activities. The number of aid programs quadrupled from 132 in 1960 to 530 by 1970.
“The following are eight reasons why the federal aid system doesn’t make any economic or practical sense and ought to be downsized or eliminated.
1. No magical source of federal funds. Aid supporters bemoan the “lack of resources” at the state level and believe that Uncle Sam has endlessly deep pockets to help out. But every dollar of federal aid sent to the states is ultimately taken from federal taxpayers who live in the 50 states.
2. Grants spur wasteful spending. The basic incentive structure of aid programs encourages overspending by federal and state policymakers.
3. Aid allocation doesn’t match any consistent idea of need. Supporters of federal grants assume that funding can be optimally distributed to those activities and states with the greatest needs. But even if such redistribution was a good idea, the aid system has never worked that way in practice. A 1940 article in Congressional Quarterly lamented: “The grants-in-aid system in the United States has developed in a haphazard fashion. Particular services have been singled out for subsidy at the behest of pressure groups, and little attention has been given to national and state interests as a whole.”22
Even if funds were allocated to the states based on need, state-level decisions can nullify federal efforts. For example, the largest education grant program, Title I, is supposed to target aid to the poorest school districts. But evidence indicates that state and local governments use Title I funds to displace their own funding of poor schools, thus making poor schools no further ahead than without federal aid.25
4. Grants reduce state policy diversity. Federal grants reduce state diversity and innovation because they come with one-size-fits-all mandates. A good example was the 55-mile-per-hour national speed limit, which was enforced between 1974 and 1995 by federal threats of withdrawing highway grant money. It never made sense that the same speed should be imposed in uncongested rural states and congested urban states, and Congress finally listened to motorists and repealed the law.
5. Grant regulations breed bureaucracy. Federal aid is not a costless injection of funding to the states. Federal taxpayers pay the direct costs of the grants, but taxpayers at all levels of government are burdened by the costly bureaucracy needed to support the system. The aid system engulfs government workers with unproductive activities such as proposal writing, program reporting, regulatory compliance, auditing, and litigation.
6. Grants cause policy making overload. One consequence of the large aid system is that the time spent by federal politicians on state and local issues takes away from their focus on truly national issues.
7. Grants make government responsibilities unclear. The three layers of government in the United States no longer resemble the tidy layer cake that existed in the 19th century. Instead, they are like a jumbled marble cake with responsibilities fragmented across multiple layers. Federal aid has made it difficult for citizens to figure out which level of government is responsible for particular policy outcomes.
8. Common problems are not necessarily national priorities. Policymakers often argue that various state, local, and private activities require federal intervention because they are “national priorities.” But as President Reagan noted in a 1987 executive order: “It is important to recognize the distinction between problems of national scope (which may justify federal action) and problems that are merely common to the states (which will not justify federal action because individual states, acting individually or together, can effectively deal with them).”29″
Town Administrator Trovato mentioned at the last BOS meeting that the town recently was turned down for a grant. It was unclear what she was talking about, but it was mentioned during the deliberation of the new $70,000 sidewalk snowblower that the BOS approved for purchase.
Apparently a grant was considered but denied because we do not maintain our sidewalks to an acceptable level. OHB was confused by this conversation and I will report back to you when I have further details.
Remember…your vote counts and your vote has consequences!
OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…PEACE!