Editor, The Spotlight:
This year’s November elections mark a pivotal time for our town. We can continue down the same path of poor planning, budget crises and tax increases, or we can choose to move in a better direction.
For years, the Democratic Party has dominated our town government, leaving little in the way of diverging views and perspectives. This has resulted in rubber-stamped agendas that have been disastrous for our town finances and our wallets.
The record speaks for itself. We face an 8 percent tax increase that will be further exacerbated by a proposed 9 percent county tax and a 4 percent school tax increase. Whatever happened to the 2% state tax cap? We have a long-anticipated $1.7 million budget gap due to loss in payment of lieu of taxes from Selkirk Cogen that could have been sufficiently addressed and was not. Lastly, to plug holes in the budget, “Rainy Day Funds” were spent as a means of raising revenue, leaving us with scant savings.
This is not a responsible or effective way to govern. Using one-shot revenue streams and budget gimmicks to balance budgets is a recipe for disaster and we are certainly feeling the consequences. Tax rates in Bethlehem have skyrocketed over the past few years, leaving many families wondering if they can continue to afford to live in our town. While taxes are a necessary evil, they should certainly not be used as a sole means of raising revenue. Pro-growth policies should supplant income raised from property taxes, but it has not. That’s where one-party rule has failed us.
That is why I urge you to vote for balance on the town board and elect Jeremy Martelle, the Republican/Conservative candidate. Jeremy will use his experience in capital planning, business development, and operating large government-managed facilities to assist the town with preparing for our future. He will draw from his private sector background to advocate for pro-growth policies that will expand our revenue base, while providing long-term financial planning guidance to anticipate revenue shortfalls and prepare accordingly.