Jo Comerford: Mayor, City Council offer ‘sound way forward’
To the editor:
If you need a reason to vote in favor of the June 25 budget override, all you have to do is scan our nation’s papers for heart-wrenching accounts of the graphic human impact of local budget cuts. In Oregon, a cash-strapped sheriff’s office states it can no longer adequately respond to domestic violence-related calls due to reduced staffing. In Pennsylvania, a town resorts to fee-for-service firefighting. The home of a family able to afford the steep fee is saved while the family next door, unable to pay, burns to the ground.
In Colorado, a city sacrifices its streetlights to save money. And stories too numerous to count tell of school districts cut to the bone, pushed to the point of breaking. Together, residents of Northampton can respond differently. House by house, we can raise the $2.5 million necessary to stabilize city funds for four years and chart a winning course for Northampton.
Our problem is manageable. Our mayor and City Council are offering us a sound way forward. We don’t have to face the same fate as our fellow city dwellers across the country. We have tremendous representation by our elected officials at the state and federal levels.
Let’s make the fiscally sound, short-term decision to pass the override even as we support our representatives and senators in the longer-term work of reforming the Commonwealth’s school funding mechanisms and transforming federal spending priorities. Please join me in voting yes June 25.
Jo Comerford is executive director of the National Priorities Project.