Taxes got your goat?


“He who lets the goat be laid on his shoulders is soon after forced to carry the cow.” Italian proverb.

I recently saved a few clippings from newspapers about proposed budget increases in towns near Windham while waiting for possible increases in the RSU-14 and Windham municipal budget. Yarmouth voters might be considering a 5.7% increase, Cape Elizabeth voters might be looking at 7.9% while Westbrook voters could be deciding a 5.8% increase. Truthfully, all these figures could change before they are finally voted on but needless to say, the story here is that if one is on Social Security they will have less to live on. It makes no sense that the federal government supposedly sets the cost-of-living increases on inflation while local school and municipal budgets continuously spiral out of control.

Windham’s municipal budget is still under discussion but a five percent increase was proposed so we don’t know what the final proposed budget will be for voters to decide at the Windham Town Meeting in June. I think we all know that the town meeting process, especially for a town with the population Windham has, is totally outdated and retained by the town government because there is the realization that the vast majority of Windham’s citizens don’t care one way or another about the budget. I have heard Windham officials state that they want Windham to move into the future but it is obvious that they are still grazing in the pasture. These days it makes no sense to have a town meeting and a possible election day in the same week.

I think that one of the saddest days in Maine’s history happened when the State of Maine Legislature created the regional school unit concept and separated the school unit’s budget from the municipal budget. What it accomplished was a municipality with two separate budgets which makes no sense at all. Truthfully, if a school budget is not part of a municipal budget, then the property owners shouldn’t be responsible for the costs of operating that school unit. That is no different than if I want to drive on the Maine Turnpike because if I choose to use it, I pay for it which is something I absolutely have no problem with. There’s the old saying give someone an inch and they will want a mile. Well, that goes for so-called free money as well. Then the government throws us bond proposals which are funds well beyond most government budgets.

I recently looked at some documents online about the proposed Windham Public Works facility. First, let me explain that I was an avid fisherman most of my life. I hate to admit it but neuropathy in my legs has forced me to stop doing that but I am still interested in water quality so others can enjoy fishing as I did. I was surprised that my brother in Montana knows of the Pleasant River in Windham and since I know that he fished Sebago Lake, I have to presume he might have fished that river as well. Unfortunately, Windham has let it’s guard down on protecting that river and other bodies of water as well. 

So here’s my point, and I am not embarrassed in the least to state it. After residing in Windham for a while, I noticed that the leaf and brush pile located at the Public Works facility was in close proximity to the Pleasant River. I called Maine Department of Environmental Protection which notified me it was not licensed to be there. Windham was given permission to have the leaf and brush pile on a temporary basis. I noticed that the leaf pile and brush pile had not been removed after a lengthy period of time and was told by DEP there was nothing they could do.

I recently looked at the plans for the new public works facility and noticed that the leaf and brush pile would be closer to the Pleasant River and that really scares me knowing Windham’s history when it comes to watersheds.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham would love to own a free government goat and use free government land for it to graze.