You can't have it both ways.
You can't demand that government control your taxes and at the same time fight every sensible attempt to reduce government spending.
Such is the case in Glenville, where the town has the opportunity to save taxpayers nearly $450,000 by hiring a private firm to clean town buildings and by not having a person in the police station lobby greeting people around the clock.
The town has proposed replacing two retiring town employees with a private cleaning company, potentially saving town taxpayers nearly $100,000 a year in salaries and benefits. No one is getting fired or laid off. The positions are becoming vacant, and the town has found a cheaper way to replace them with a professional service. Yet the regional CSEA president and unionized town workers are objecting, even suggesting that the private company cleaners will steal employees’ stuff at night.
With regard to the police department staffing, police union officials are suggesting the town staff the police station lobby 24/7, as it has for the past 30 years. The local dispatcher was moved into a unified regional dispatch center this spring. Certainly, having a person on-site to greet visitors and take complaints would be ideal. But full-time service also would cost taxpayers $350,000 in wages and benefits.
Even with dispatchers no longer manning a desk in the station, people who go inside can reach a human being via two phones and an intercom system that's wired into Town Hall. And again, no one lost a job over this.
We're all frustrated at times by what passes for "customer service” these days -- talking to a robot that sounds like a person instead of a person that sounds like a robot.
But the price of government continues to rise as taxpayers’ ability to pay for it continues to decline. That means government officials have to jump at any chance to reduce spending, even if it inconveniences some people. Ideally, they can do it without layoffs.
As taxpayers, we can either keep taxes in line, or we retain existing services at increasingly high costs.
So what’s it going to be?