Aquinnah’s problems not wishful thinking

To the Editor:
Aquinnah voters have three times rejected a proposition 2 1/2 override. Now it appears the selectmen on Dec. 16, for the fourth time, will present the voters with a similar budget to be funded from the stabilization fund.

I understand this fund is not an operating budget slush fund but is designated for emergencies or specialized capital projects. Even if the budget is passed on Dec.16, this can only be a temporary solution.

The town’s insolvency has been brewing for almost a decade. An audit several years ago disclosed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. With collection of those taxes and the lucky infusion of ever diminishing free cash, the town managed to limp along until now. No one seems to know the present status of tax collection, and free cash is wrapped in mystery. Transparency is sorely missing.

A Gazette Editorial on Nov. 12 stated that help is available to towns at the state level by taking advantage of the free service of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue Services to perform an audit and assist in the development of a business plan.

Despite meetings with voters regarding suggestions, the selectmen have not come up with any way to generate revenue other than repeatedly attempting to wear down the voters. One must ask the question, “Why have they not jumped at the opportunity to seek help from the state of Massachusetts?”

With this budget crisis and the recent vacancy in the office of town treasurer/administrator, it would seem that now is the logical time to have an outside, non-partisan evaluation of the town’s financial affairs.

Consideration should also be given to hiring a qualified, professional administrator to fill the vacant position. This could prove to be a good investment for the town.

Aquinnah has serious problems, which cannot simply be wished away.

Hannah L. Malkin
Aquinnah
Sun City Center, Fla.