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Small Town Blues Leave 'Em In The Red

Every now and then, the Boston Globe goes and really ticks me off. That's when they prove that they can, occasionally, do a decent job. And when they do that by finding something seriously wrong here in New Hampshire, it's just that much worse.

The town of Windsor, New Hampshire, is a tiny little town -- so tiny I hadn't even heard of it before now. (As the local saying goes, I haven't lived in New Hampshire my whole life -- not yet.) It's a tiny little town in the southwestern part of the state, a really rinky-dink speed bump of a town.

But that doesn't mean that it can't have big problems.

It seems that the tiny little town has some hefty financial troubles. It seems that quite a few residents have been ignoring their property tax bills for a few years -- and the (now former) tax collector let them slide.

That most of them were her family and friends was, apparently, a wild coincidence.

Meanwhile, other residents -- ironically, mainly those not so close to the tax collector -- who found themselves in a bit of a jam got the hardball treatment. That wasn't enough, though, so the town had to borrow money to pay its bills.

This seems to be mainly the "old-timers" of the town -- the ones who've been there for generations -- who have been shirking their responsibilities, while the newcomers -- those who've got less than half a century or so worth of roots -- have been held to a higher standard.

This, quite frankly, stinks. It confirms all the worst stereotypes of small town politics and cliques. A town of less than 250 people should not have over $200,000 in uncollected taxes and simply shrug and say "that's how we do things around here."

And if it takes the Attorney General's office to step in and say "you treat everyone the same, or we'll come in and run things for you," then so be it.


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Comments (9)

Huh, an untitled post.... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Huh, an untitled post.

Intriguing, or undecided?

That would be an interestin... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

That would be an interesting complement to the caption contest. A contest for the best title to one of JT's posts.

I have absolutely no idea w... (Below threshold)

I have absolutely no idea what you two are talking about. None whatsoever. You must be seeing things. Or, rather, not seeing things.

Honest.

J.

I like it.I think ... (Below threshold)
Puck:

I like it.

I think community involves committment. Community should not be something you can just walk into and be a member of. Old timers ought to get a break - and ought to be able to define the rules of membership.

That's the way it is at your synagogue - right?

"Whenever we put them on th... (Below threshold)
philw1776:

"Whenever we put them on the spot about something, we're told, 'That's not the way we do it in Windsor - we do it the Windsor way.' "

When I was FinCom chairman long ago in Westford, MA that was the same refrain we got any time we proposed a change to a town department that would result in saving $. Once this truping statement was said, the coots running the dept regarded any further discussion as over.

OUr town just recalled a Co... (Below threshold)
epador:

OUr town just recalled a County Commissioner who had allegedly used his job to get his development projects through and thwart his competitors.He kept getting into fights with the DA, and last year got his salary cut. Bad idea.

http://www.dailyastorian.com/main.asp?SectionID=23&SubSectionID=392&ArticleID=50097&TM=37398.06

Despite 3 mailings, signs all over the county, lots of backroom meetings, him spending 10 times the amount of the opposition (who did have the support of the local paper), the vote was 2/3 against him. Sounds like its recall time in Windsor.

JT, when the post first wen... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, when the post first went up, there was no title. ww

Even down here in the heart... (Below threshold)

Even down here in the heart of good ol' boy country, not collecting the taxes from a relative would be illegal. One former delinquent tax collector used to get on the phone before the default list went to publication, arguing with all his relatives, friends, and supporters that if they appeared on the list in the paper it would embarrass him.

Guess they have a different way of avoiding embarrassment up there.

Of course, rural governments have any number of "ways" to get things done. For instance, our county advertises for bids for all vehicles, as required by state law. They advertise only in our local paper, which has little circulation outside the county.

I think every car, truck, and SUV - every single passenger vehicle the county has "requested bids" on over the last thirty years has been purchased, in the end, from the same (in-county) dealership - at a price you probably wouldn't want to pay if you walked in off the street to buy a single vehicle.

Sounds like an interesting ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Sounds like an interesting town to live in. Do all the 'old timers' get to wear the same brown shirts?




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