Driggs and Cook: Response to Reckless Comments from Activist Budget Committee Member

We are responding to Tiverton Budget Committee Secretary, Deb Scanlon Janick’s dangerously reckless statements, made in her recent letter to the editor of this paper. We did not vote for the final Budget Committee recommended budget, as the record clearly shows. We voted against the 3.5% tax increase and the $19.69 tax rate.

Deb Janick was absent for the two final meetings and didn’t even vote. Deb Janick didn’t check her facts before making accusations, which undermines her credibility.  During the budget process, when she was there, Deb Janick voted with the majority for all increases, a spending spree that resulted in a request for an exorbitant increase in taxes. Big government, big pay raises shared by precious few of us, and big taxes. We tried to protect the taxpayers hard-earned money and wallets to counter Deb Janick’s willingness to go with the majority on spending other people’s money.

Deb Janick’s attempt to minimize the result of the May 21st FTR by claiming it wasn’t really a majority of the voters because so few of the registered voters actually voted is a nightmare of logic. During Budget Committee meetings after the financial town referendum (FTR) remanded the line items to us, Deb Janick’s vote to go along with Louise Durfee’s trash elimination/additional fee, shows contempt for the taxpayer and a worrisome instinct to exact revenge.

Justin Katz has provided a service these last three years in providing another option for the taxpayers other than the requests of the Town Council and Budget Committee majorities, who keep voting for higher and higher taxes. Choice is always good for democracy. Our being Budget Committee members exercising our right of free speech and freely petitioning the government are hardly “unethical” actions.

Budget #2 didn’t create the havoc — Deb Janick’s repeated votes with the majority that led to a proposed 3.5% budget, $19.69 per thousand levy, and for taxpayer-hurting trash elimination during the remand process did.

The voters have spoken, but we see nothing but retribution, reprisal, punishment, and abuse of power from the Town Council and the Budget Committee toward the taxpayer for voting for a budget they are willing to support: Voting to take away trash or adding fees and sticker costs, without even considering a multitude of other options, presented by the town administrator, by Justin Katz, and by some on the Budget Committee.

Deb Janick, along with the majority, prevented Nancy Driggs’ five pages of possible adjustments even to be heard at the June 14th remand meeting. Deb Janick and the Budget Committee majority submitted an unbalanced budget during the budget process then refused to follow the ballot on how the taxpayers wanted the budget to be processed, and manipulated and twisted the remand process like a pretzel.

Deb Janick states Councilor David Perry’s submission of possible charter changes is fair and just. We disagree and see them for what they are: a way to block submission of elector petitions and to strong-arm citizens who cannot afford the huge budget that has doubled in 10 years by blocking their right to choose.

Deb Janick, you claim you want to serve the people but forget it is not your money; it is the people’s money, and the people have spoken clearly about the way their monies have been wasted and squandered by their town committees. It is the compromising of freedom of choice that is really all about control, name-calling and bullying, that is unethical, and antithetical to serving the wishes of the taxpayer.

Nancy Driggs and Donna Cook are currently members of the Tiverton Budget Committee.

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