Vol. III No. 21 11/1/2022
Emanuel Ax at the Stockbridge Library Benefit Concert at the Linde Center on Sunday, October 30, 2022. Photo: Lionel Delevingne
Editorial: Right from the Start
Right from the start: Stockbridge believed the business of the people is the people's business. Stockbridge faced the problem of decreased funding to CTSB and solved it. Right from the start, Stockbridge knew it wanted transparency and citizen participation. Stockbridge wanted those who live here year-round and those who leave in the winter to have access to all Town meetings of interest. We paid for and received full coverage, Hybrid access and tapes available. Yay Stockbridge!
Right from the start: one elected official realized the need for a full discussion of all tax alternatives. By now, we have received, or become aware of, our new property valuations on which our real estate tax bill will be based. Due to the influx of new residents, bidding wars on land, the tearing down and building much bigger houses, the valuations/assessments went up precipitately. Now everyone understands the need for full discussion and sober consideration of options — need never to allow sober discussion to be cut short by slogans, a headline, a petition with no signatures (just a typed list), and curated facts and figures.
Right from the start: our Town employees explained when valuations go up, the rate goes down. However, the assessments are so much higher in so short a time, it is difficult to make the rate go down far enough. The laws of the Commonwealth only allow Stockbridge to reduce the rate by so much. The law requires we base a lower rate on reality — the difference between estimated costs and the actual costs — the difference between estimated income and actual income — the difference between covering costs only versus covering costs and creating a savings account.
Laws, including tax laws, drive outcomes. A sober, measured, and polite discussion of options must continue enhanced by an understanding of the desired outcomes. Not just because it is required by law, but because right from the start it was the right thing to do.
Right from then start: the people of Stockbridge knew, based on long history, that working together and being open to all options results in the best outcomes. Even trying, and thereby testing an option sometimes gives us the data we need.
Right from the start: SU pointed out that Stockbridge remained a beautiful and livable village for almost three hundred years. Stockbridge did it based on simple rules of conduct — how we treat and talk to one another — simple respect for nature and the artifacts of our ancestors — and that we face problems and solve them. Stockbridge was right from the start and should continue. Ignore the tumult — stay calm and carry on.
Photo: Blue Moon Images/Dana Goedewaagen