Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Compassionate conservatism?

During the Town Council Meeting on March 21, 2006 the issue of sale of property for tax delinquency was discussed. It was evident from his comments that Andy Upham wants to play bill collector and kick folks out of their homes because of unpaid taxes. Is this an example of compassionate conservatism? I would think that in a small town like Gray we would be able to take a more personal look at this situation and determine if this draconian measure is needed in all situations.

John Welch rightly raised the issue of what is our responsibility if the town evicts someone? It brings to mind the indifference to human suffering capture by Charles Dickens when he has Scrooge ask, "Are there no prisons, are there no work houses?" What are we becoming? I would rather work out a deal with a person who is delinquent in their taxes so that they could repay them in a mutually agreeable schedule, than punish and deprive our fellow citizens of their property. In cases where every attempt has been made to contact, and no responsible party of ownership can be found (example death) then that would constitute a situation, in my opinion, where the Town of Gray would be justified in proceeding with a sale of the property to settle taxes. The situation must be looked at with care and the realization of the impact it will have needs to considered carefully.

This reeks of a vested interest. Is this a tactic for some people with inside information to scoop up desirable land cheaply? The least the council could do would be to make a public statement that they will not personally make bids on any properties put on the auction block.

This thing is just mean spirited and wrong. We are a better community than this. We are not just a tax base, we are people. Life does not always come down to crunching numbers. Mr. Upham kindly consider the human toll of the actions you propose.

Don Crandall