In this election, I believe voters in Purcellville have a clear choice to make: continue the policies of the current Council or vote to bring new, fresh thinking and – frankly – some dissension to our Town Council.
Under the current Council, our debt has risen to a staggering $61.5 million while our population has hardly increased at all over the same time period. Some examples of the spending practices of this Council include the purchase of an 80 year old church with a flooding basement and mold to become the new Town Hall with a total cost projected to reach upwards of $8 million. The town also approved the building of a new maintenance building at a cost of $5 million.
The town takes credit for good financial stewardship on the basis of awards for budget presentation (note: not actual financial performance). They claim a surplus each year, despite an unprecedented growth in Purcellville’s outstanding debt. The Mayor and Council continue to pass an equalized tax rate year after year while shoving off to future Councils and generations the fiscal responsibility for repayment of the debt they have accumulated. This makes perfect political sense: it makes the incumbents look good and, should they lose, those future representatives will be left holding the bag and the bills.
This year the Council has changed their budget format to hide the full cost of capital improvement projects (CIP) by not including the “out” years. This means you and I, the taxpayers, do not see the true cost. For example, instead of the real cost of the Main/Maple intersection improvement of over $9 million, the cost shown in this year’s budget shows a mere $1.9 million. And now the Council has delayed the scheduled budget meeting of April 28 to a date after the election.
The choice seems apparent to me: vote for the current fiscal policies that have spent millions and run up our debt for which we all must somehow pay or, vote in new, fresh thinking that will counterbalance some of these decisions and enable some alternative ideas to spend, borrow and spend more. Let’s reestablish democracy in action within the Council. We need representatives on the Council that have full access to all of the information and discussions that the council members have and who can raise the concerns that many share to curb spending. I endorse Sam Brown, Kelli Grim and Keith Melton to represent the cause of true fiscal conservatism and responsibility.