There is no cash crunch for the Town of Paonia

By Bill Brunner

Dear Editor:

The Paonia management team is on a PR blitz to convince us the town needs more of our money. By their own data, it just isn't true. There are a few personalities in "power" here who have a collective agenda to turn the town into a business that turns a profit. They are inflating the situation into a crisis to grease the skids to achieve their vision.

There are people in our community who are actually in a state of crisis right now. The latest round of mine layoffs is another devastating blow for a lot of very real people. The problem with running the town like a business is that the town is a monopoly. You simply cannot go a competitor to get your water or take the stuff you have to flush down the toilet. The town has the power to put a lien on your property and evict you from your home if you cannot pay. To raise the cost of living when it is not absolutely necessary is callous in the extreme.

To justify raising the cost of all town services they are advancing a very carefully packaged argument. It's the cash crunch. We can't make our loan payments. While the state has mandated some expensive improvements to the water system, they also provide almost all the money to make it happen. All we have to do is make the payments and they refund the money. To have a cash crunch, the yearly sum of these payment has to be lumped together as though they all come due on the same day. This makes it look like the town is a quarter of a million dollars short of cash. Really?

First, the loans don't come due at the same time, and even if they fell on the same day, a bridge loan is available for a few thousand dollars. Make the payment and the money comes back in 90 days. If this simple fact is included in the analysis, the cash shortfall suddenly bounces into the black, crisis averted, and no pressing need to raise the price of everything the town charges for. The people pushing this increase in the cost of living are not going to have to use their kids' lunch money to pay for water, sewer and trash. They are pretty well off. It's the pain they will knowingly inflict on those in need that is the crime.

Bill Brunner