I am writing to support the Pepperell Supplemental Budget to be voted on in early September (Sept. 2). I do not look forward to seeing taxes increase, but I believe the Supplemental Budget is critical to our future. Particularly important now is funding the basic services that keep residents and businesses here, investing in our town and schools, helping others in the community, and sharing the tax load.
I think of my experiences with just one such service -- the police department. In our time in Pepperell, we have received their help several times. They have responded to safety and security concerns in our neighborhood, checked on PACH after hours, and ensured we could walk safely in protest of the pipeline. Most personally, they came to our home at 2 a.m. to assist with a family medical emergency. In each case, they acted quickly, professionally, and with concern and compassion.
So what? Aren't these just the basics a police force should provide? Maybe, but even so, that is the point. Without proper funding we will reduce even these very important basic services. I believe this will discourage residency and growth in Pepperell, and reduce the very positive impact that investments like the new high school can have. In the case of the police force, we will have fewer officers per resident than any neighboring town. I would expect crime to rise along with delays in getting help the next time my family, a neighbor or a business calls.
In the end, we will have reduced services and our taxes, among the lowest compared to nearby towns, will still increase due to having fewer remaining residents and businesses to pay them. I would much prefer to chose to pay a tax increase that supports residents and growth rather than be forced to pay more, for less, due to town decline.
I believe town budgets should be routinely challenged. What we face now, however, are not requests for luxury items. These are the kinds of expenses that clear winter roads, keep a senior center and library open, and ensure emergency personnel can quickly get to our homes at 2 a.m.
So, I am voting in favor of the Supplemental Budget. I hope after reviewing the proposal you consider doing so as well.
Specific information on the Supplemental Budget, including tax and staffing comparisons with neighboring towns, can be found on the town website at http://www.pepperell-mass.com/393/Proposed-Supplemental-Budget-Information.