August 9, 2020
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Patience, Prudence, and Planning

Published May 06, 2020

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I am writing in the strongest possible support of adopting the budgets as detailed on the Madison website. During this crisis I know everyone is concerned about the long-term ramifications of town spending. Our town leadership is clearly aware and responding judiciously—hence the deferral of the two large spending referenda scheduled for October.

Both the town and Board of Education (BOE) budgets are appropriately conservative. There is no money for new positions, new programs, or anything but the bare bones. The total increase for the proposed BOE budget is below the rate of inflation. The 0.99 percent increase in the mill rate is well below recent historical increases and mostly reflects contractual obligations for essential services.

With the future tax basis uncertain, there is great temptation to push for deeper cuts. We need to avoid this temptation! To pursue further cuts would potentially limit the town’s flexibility during this crisis. We need to maintain funding for essential town services, most notably emergency services. We need to maximize our capacity to adapt to a completely novel educational environment going forward—whether that is home/distance learning, staggered school times, or other potential options.

There is no doubt that the pandemic will require many months of recovery. That is as true for the town as it is for us as individuals. Our fastest route to a new normal is patience, prudence, and planning. I believe these budgets reflect that approach.

Mark Aron