Stirring The Pot - Editorial

Selectman Andrew Gottlieb wasted no time, jumping right in to stir the political pot in town. At his urging, the board of selectmen have established a working group to look into a new property tax structure that would benefit year-round residents. The idea, predictably, has angered some—perhaps many—seasonal residents.

We don’t know that a new property tax structure is a good idea or not, but we are certain that it is a good idea to once in a while look at the way things are done in a new light. The worst thing a town, or any organization, can do is follow the same worn path because it has always been done that way.

Last week Mr. Gottlieb made an opportunity of committee reappointments to force the issue of an audit of Community Preservation Act funds. Mr. Gottlieb proposed that the board put a hold on the appointment of housing authority member Richard Halpern to the Community Preservation Committee until an audit of CPA spending has been conducted.

The housing authority spent $300,000 in CPA funds over several years on rental assistance. It has been for some, including the town manager, an open question of whether the funds were spent appropriately. It is still an open question after almost a year. Mr. Gottlieb would like an answer.

But it turned out that Mr. Gottlieb’s opportunity wasn’t an opportunity at all because it is not up to selectmen to reappoint Mr. Halpern.

The use of CPA funds is important town business; future state contributions in CPA funding could be at stake. Mr. Gottlieb’s attempt to close an open question about use of CPA funds might have failed, but we can’t help but admire his tenacity.

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