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Durfee Should Budget for the Living

A recent letter by Budget Committee Member Louise Durfee deserves response on two points.

First, Ms. Durfee’s attempt to spin her role in attempting to take trash pickup away from Tiverton residents actually puts her actions in a worse light.  The video of the relevant Budget Committee meeting is available online (, so everybody can judge for themselves whether her new story matches reality.  I say it does not, especially with her Tiverton 1st friends’ clear intention to take trash pickup away to teach voters a lesson (see for details).

According to her letter, Durfee casually chatted with Town Treasurer Denise Saurette on the phone the day of the Budget Committee meeting.  Saurette did a little light research about trash programs, and then within the space of minutes of hearing it, a majority on the Budget Committee decided that the quick and dirty plan was enough to make a major change to local services, going so far as to assume greater savings than the Town Administrator had projected.

And Durfee calls my budget suggestions “stupid” and “mean-spirited”!  The list of options I provided the committee was more than twice the size of what was needed, meaning that it gave the committee options, not requirements.

Durfee goes on to call shame down on me over the fact that my budget options included a $500 grant to the Garden Club, partly used to decorate a small area memorializing veterans.  Note, again, that this was an option I listed, not a necessity in my plan to balance the budget.  If the Budget Committee had decided that this line item wasn’t a priority, such a worthy cause would surely have found willing donors.  We, as a community, are more than just our town government.  What a sad testimony if our honoring those who’ve defended our freedom rests entirely on the town government’s ability to take money away from us by force.

The most offensive thing about Durfee’s statement, though, is that she, herself, took the lead in attempting to take the service of trash pickup away from living veterans, many elderly.  In the decades of her time in town government, Durfee has long been a leader in the effort to take more and more money from living veterans — from all taxpayers, no matter what we can afford.

Such a record leaves her no credibility to shame others.


Justin Katz

Justin Katz is a writer and researcher focusing on Rhode Island policy and politics. For more about Justin, see our About page. (401) 835-7156.

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