A Letter to the Editor: Budgets, Numbers, Per Capita, Spending: What Does It All Mean?


To the Editor,

I have been thinking about the two Op-Ed articles and the response concerning the above.

First of all, hats off to William Shipman and Robert Beatty.  They both spent a lot of time compiling data and stating their concerns.  Mr. Dietrich’s response was also thoughtful.

My first comment is way too many numbers.  The general public in Manchester-by-the-Sea, including me, get a bit dizzy and confused by looking at all the charts and numbers.  I do get what they were trying to say.  Many do not.

My interpretation, as I see it, whether right or wrong is this.

Mr. Shipman’s concern is about our spending vs other towns in the North Shore.  And, where the money goes.  He would like to see an independent accountant or other professional, go over the numbers to see where the waste is.  And, how to eliminate this wasteful spending.  This analysis would be totally independent of the Selectman and Town Administration.  Mr. Dietrich also thought an independent analysis is a not only a good idea, but would clarify the spending.

Mr. Beatty’s concern is that there will be cuts to our education.  Personally, I don’t see that happening.  The residents realize the importance of a good education for the children and the positive affects on real estate in our town.

What this town needs is transparency.  For instance, the town boat ramp, that incurred excess costs by not researching the contractor.  What do I know, the contractor went bankrupt leaving a very costly mess to clean up.  I wonder if the person who hired him checked his financials.

The Selectmen need to look carefully and independently when new ideas are proposed.

I suggest an old way to analyze the PROS and CONS is for each to write on a legal pad and then have a discussion.  Often interpretations are different.  This way everyone would be on the same page.

In summary, the town of Manchester by the Sea needs to be cautious and be able to weed out unnecessary spending.  This would help bring our per capita numbers down.   Selectmen are elected to do that.  They should not be influenced by others.  It’s their decision.

All comments are welcome.

Elizabeth Cross, Manchester