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The Commons
Voices / Letters from readers

Where did the money go in Bellows Falls?

Originally published in The Commons issue #407 (Wednesday, May 10, 2017).

The Bellows Falls Village Annual Meeting Day is May 15 in the Bellows Falls Opera House at 7 p.m.

Warned Articles 4 and 5 surely need taxpayers’ attention. Something alarming has happened to the village annual budget in terms of the fund balance, and the now urgent need to replenish that fund, given Article 5’s request for an additional $58,000 to be levied toward that end.

Ask each of our elected trustees to explain where the money went. They are at a loss. I have asked at village meetings that a spreadsheet be provided to taxpayers May 15 to explain how this unrestricted money has dwindled from some $200,000 in FY16 down to less than $10,000 by end FY17, the reported projection given by our annual auditing firm.

What is wrong with the operation and administration of general government funds that require this infusion of tax dollars?

We have two healthy enterprise funds in Bellows Falls: water and wastewater. One can review the Bellows Falls Village Annual Report, now available online or at multiple locations. However, what you will not see is the actual monies spent thus far for each department, as of the printing of this report. Only the budgeted amount. We cannot tell how much has been spent, how much remains, and how much will be left by June 30.

The questions every taxpayer needs answered before voting on Article 4 and 5 are these:

• What has happened to the tax dollars allocated at last year’s annual meeting?

• Why is the fund balance almost empty?

• What unanticipated actions have caused expenditures?

• What will be left at year end that will be available to the unrestricted fund balance, so that Article 5 will not be necessary?

• What can be done to prevent this unsustainable budgeting every year and rein in spending?

If you love this village, please come to the Bellows Falls Annual Meeting May 15, 2017 at 7 p.m. What we are building is the future of Bellows Falls for our children. Let’s make sure they can afford it.

Deborah Wright

Bellows Falls

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