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By Richard L. Charland
I would like to take a moment to respond to articles in The Valley Reporter July 31, 2014, dealing with the Special Town Meeting held on July 28, 2014. The meeting dealt with a petition request to rescind an article passed at a Special Town Meeting held May 10, 2014, Article 1: Shall the voters of the Town of Duxbury appropriate the sum of $70,000 to be applied to the outstanding debt of the town.
Accordingly, I offer the following in response.
1. Regarding a review of the monthly Finance Reports for 2013 presented to the board. As I previously indicated, the October 31, 2013, report presented to us at our November 11, 2013, meeting showed a positive budget balance of $80,000. At this meeting, the former treasurer resigned effective December 2, 2013. Our current treasurer was appointed on December 12, 2013, and had to deal with not only familiarizing herself with the duties, but was thrust as well into our work preparing the 2014 budget.
2. We regularly meet on the second Monday of the month; we frequently have special meetings to deal with the town's affairs as well. All of our agendas and minutes are posted on the town's website as well as the three posting locations required by statute. Unfortunately, we see a handful of residents attend these meetings. Given the nature and importance of what transpired, where was everyone when Batchelder Associates presented the 2013 Town Audit report on April 2, 2014? How can someone offer such critical comment when they have not taken the time to familiarize themselves with any of the facts, discussion or deliberations that took place?
3. The town does not need a financial adviser, our books are now in order, our monthly budget reports are accurate and timely, financial software available on the town computer, is now operational, accounts are being reconciled, reports are available in a timely fashion (immediately if needed) and our checkbook is balanced on a monthly basis. Amazingly, since the 2013 audit was completed, only three individuals have taken the time to visit the treasurer and discuss the state of the town's finances with her.
4. Finally, I am grateful to Amy Scharf for her comments at the end of Monday night's meeting. The members of the select board are residents of the town like everyone else and our decisions affect us all equally. Marty Wells on social media succinctly expressed the need for more positive participation by everyone in what goes on in town. Rather than standing at the back of the room and casting aspersions, we invite everyone to attend our meetings and welcome everyone' s input in the decision-making process. Our next meeting is Monday, August 11, 2014, at 6 p.m. in the meeting room adjacent to the town garage. We look forward to seeing you there.
Richard L. Charland is the chair of the Duxbury Select Board.