Folks, here is a simple truth: We live in one of the wealthiest villages in the entire country. While we come from humble origins in 1640, today we are the location of choice for billionaires — including the Princes of Lake Agawam, whom Mayor Jesse Warren faithfully serves.
So, if we effectively live in a Rolls-Royce village, why would we not want Rolls-Royce caliber police, fire and ambulance departments?
What is particularly perplexing for me is how much support Mayor Jesse Warren draws from the summer colony, the wealthy second-home owners who, up until these past few years, found local politics unworthy of their attention or participation. They are the ones with the most expensive homes, art collections, exotic cars, etc., in our village.
In the most recent budget, Mayor Warren saved them pennies by marginally reducing property taxes (obviously, for optical reasons only during an election season, ignoring the fact that he raised taxes by almost 5 percent the previous tax year), while also now attempting to appropriate almost $4 million of the previous year’s surplus for his own pet sewer project, without any input from voters and taxpayers. Yes, the mayor will tell you that he voted against the prior year’s budget, but that was only after the majority of the trustees rejected his obscene increase in the mayor’s slush fund, and was for the identical total budget amount that he had proposed. Typical Jesse Warren gaslighting.
If I were a wealthy second-home owner (which I, sadly, am not), would I want it to take one more minute for the police to arrive if an alarm went off, one more minute for the fire department to arrive if my home was on fire and my valuable possessions were at risk, or one more minute for the ambulance corps to arrive if someone in my home had a health emergency?
Mayor Warren has saved you the equivalent of what you pay in tips dining out during the summer, yet, given your continued support for him at the ballot box, would place so much of what you value at risk.
The village budget should be managed efficiently, including the police chief’s compensation and police department budget, but let us return to a mayor who understands the longstanding balance between the interests of the year-round residents and the summer colony, and not the politics of division, half-truths, and the perspective of an overpriced clothing store owner who has delegated his job to a shadow government.
On June 18, let’s elect a decent and normal human being for mayor and vote Michael Irving. It’s time for us to return to less drama and more of what makes this village unique and special.
One fine body…