Friday, December 12, 2014

Are Town Councilors Wavering On Budget Pledge?

Ken O’Brien

This year, like every year, there was the predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth over setting the tax rate.

And this year, as I have done for the last three years, I will point out that the time is long past to attempt to backpedal. The time to act is not in December but in April when the budget is voted upon.

Therefore I was optimistic on November 17 when Councilor Vecchia read a pledge signed by him and four other councilors to cut the FY 2016 school and departmental budgets by 1% from their FY 2015 levels.

Now, however, there appears to be some waffling and an effort to walk back the conviction expressed in that pledge.

Today’s Worcester Telegram reports on the new Southbridge tax rate in an article titled “Southbridge tax bills to increase $158”. In that article it is reported, “Mr. Vecchia, who had said four other councilors had signed his pledge to try to cut town budgets 1 percent, expressed irritation about the 5 percent increase on homeowners.”

Below is the portion of the November 17 Town Council Meeting where Councilor Vecchia read the pledge. Nowhere is there any talk of “trying” to reduce the budgets. Rather there is a firm pledge to do it by “at least” 1%.

I would remind Councilors Vecchia, Moriarty, Carrasco, Vandal and Estrada, all of whom signed the pledge, of the words of that sage Jedi, Yoda:


  1. Where does it stop? How much can the taxpayers take? Between the 15% water/sewer hikes, 5% tax hike, loan shark penalties and interest for late payments, etc., we just can't take it anymore. And we haven't found out the final tab for school department law suits and legal fees.
    We have massive waste in the school department that no one wants to address. We could easily trim 2 million dollars from that department immediately. What type of school system spends over $200,000 a year for legal fees? Why not hire a lawyer and add him/her to the ever-growing central office stable? Or better yet, why not hire administrators that don't wrongfully terminate valued employees?
    Waste - waste - waste! Taxes - taxes - taxes!

  2. Read the Telegr article but it didn't mention the 5 councillors who voted yes. Who are they? I want to be sure not to vote for any of them.

    1. Voting in favor of the increase were Councilors Manna, Clemence, Steeves, Peloquin and Moriarty. Opposed were Councilors Vecchia, Vandal, Carrasco and Estrada.

  3. The town of Southbridge spent $100,000 on a master plan that is collecting dust, $50,000 in legal fees to try and shut down 4 local businesses with liquor licenses (to free up 2 of them), all of our grant resources are being gifted to a kid with no business background or education who is already losing properties instead of someone established and making sound business decisions (which THE TOWN will have to pay back if he goes bankrupt), and Chris Clark practically gave away those town properties that were supposed to pay for the new school for pennies on the dollar.

    The *fantastic* deal with turning the old Jr High into The High Rise II has really panned out. Aside from the backroom illegal deal, has the town of Southbridge seen even a dime from that yet? My guess is no.

    Unfortunately, the Chris Clark days pretty much fiscally ruined this town. But now is the time for the Council to stand up, stop the bleeding, stop the anti-business sentiment, cut the fat and hold every department in town accountable. If nothing is done for this next April vote on the budget then every person in that seat on that Council should resign. The residents of Southbridge felt a 15% hike on water & sewer and now a 5% hike on their property taxes. You can't do that to a town and keep getting re-elected!

  4. Disappointed in MoriartyDecember 12, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Very disappointed in Moriarty. I expect such moves from the four flaming liberals, but Moriarty!

    1. I hardly think you can call Manna and Clemence liberals.

    2. Manna and Clemence are pretty much die-hard Conservatives....

    3. Hey both Bush 41 & 43 were "conservatives.". They spent more than ant democrat.

  5. Make sure you play this video for them during budget time.

  6. Mark your calender on April first to remind them. All of us fools need to be reminded. Councilors and the sheeple paying for this alike.

  7. Does the town get any of the quarter million dollar Casella fine?

    Too bad they didn't pay what was promised because we would not have to keep taxing through high water rates.

    Why can't they reverse that vote and shift the burden to the industrisl tax payers. When does Franklin Associates start paying taxes again? They are getting a FORTUNE from QCC.
    Will that big fine announced the day after the council meeting bring our tax down a little?

  8. Not ok for schools but ok for townDecember 13, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    Let's see maybe they will save some money or not. I heard town hall will be closed the Friday after xmas and new years. Didn't a tc just comment about this practice to the sc? Even though town hall was closed the day after Thanksgiving..

  9. We need a local paperJanuary 2, 2015 at 4:44 AM

    I dont know if the Southbridge news is for sale but I would love to see the Worcester Telegram make an offer to buy the paper so we could get any news on time and start with getting Southbridge back on the map!!!


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