Saturday, August 15, 2009

A response by Anne Giddings

I recently did a front-page post with some comments from Anne Giddings (Council, at-large). You can see the entire post here. And since there were some questions / concerns raised, Anne offered this very thoughtful response that I re-post here (unedited):

I am glad to let anyone know my position on educational funding, waste, and other issues.

Easiest one first: I hate waste of any resources, whether money, time, or other. I am a thrifty person (my children have sometimes used more pejorative terms, but I prefer thrifty) and I feel an increased need for care when given responsibility for someone else’s resources, such as the public’s. I do realize that what I consider “waste” may be considered essential by someone else—that is where discussion and the political process come in.

As to education funding, that is one area among many where people disagree as to the necessity of spending levels. A certain minimum expenditure is required in order to provide schools, teachers, busses, learning materials. The disagreement is over what expenditure is necessary. (Please see the last sentence of the previous paragraph.) I do not presume that any amount requested by the Board of Education is necessarily essential. I consider myself amenable to reason and factual evidence.

All town expenditures should be examined in order to determine whether they are necessary in order to provide needed community services. Since the Council can only set the total amount for the education budget, not make changes to items included in it, it is especially important for the Council to know why a requested amount is needed for the schools. When I attended the public hearing on the budget, I felt that the necessity for some expenditures was not fully spelled out.

One advantage of being a former educator is my strong belief in the importance of planning, both short- and long-range. Example: right now the Council is considering repairs to the building section of the town pool. There have also been options for the long-range destiny of the pool covering. My concern is that the two be linked. We should not spend a large sum on refurbishment of the building section, if that refurbishment does not fit with the final decision regarding the pool covering. We need to know the final decision as well as the immediate one, and we need to be sure that the pool can be used (although I am not myself a user of this facility).

Unfortunately, my contact information was not included in my original information to Tim. I will include that and invite anyone who would like to discuss these or other issues to contact me. I welcome the opportunity to have discussions with residents.

Anne Giddings
915 Boulder Rd.
cell: 651-9790

I take Anne at her word. I'm absolutely convinced that she'll be questioning spending and working toward fiscally responsible budgets.

Tim White

p.s. I changed the email address so as to limit botmails.

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