Many years ago, approximately 19 years, a person retired from his job and asked his partner if he would like to move to New England. After a few months, they decided to visit Vermont to see if this was what they were looking for. After only a week’s vacation they decided that Dover was to be their home. They rented a house and settled in to a very comfortable, quiet, and peaceful living. They loved and still love their town of New England charm, pristine beauty, stars that you can see at night, and walks you can take and not fear anything. We have an excellent town government, it is like a river that flows and sometimes the water hits a rock and the water moves around it or goes over the rock, thus our town government works hard in the same way. Our selectboard tries to provide fairness in what they do.
Well about eight-years ago, this couple decided to buy their house and call it theirs. They work their butts off to make the property look good. Many compliments have been given about the work they have done to the property.
Over the years things have changed. One person has been diagnosed with MS, the other with COPD and diabetes. The illnesses are not an excuse for this writing.
However, they discovered that as each year goes by, it has become difficult to keep up with the expenses of owning their home. Each year their mortgage increases because their taxes are escrowed into their mortgage. Each year it becomes more and more difficult to meet expenses. They also over the years adopted three sons and were foster parents for 15 boys.
This story is a true story, and within the next year or two-years, there must be consideration of selling their dream home, uprooting their two special needs kids and moving.
The reason for the story is to ask if this family and other families living on a fixed income can have a tax break every other year. I (we) know our local government workers work hard and deserve every penny they get. But those pennies each year spell a bleak outlook for those of us who really struggle from week to week.
Yes, my spouse works a 39 hour a week job while he is fighting his MS. I have my social security each month, our federal government for the past two-years gave me no pay raise and this year I was blessed with a whole $2 a month increase, with a $7 a month increase in my Medicare.
So why the story? I am taking a very bold move and asking that at our Dover Town Meeting, if everyone who is well entitled to a pay raise, be it salary, hourly or through a stipend: Would each of you consider compassion and tell those of us on fixed incomes, that you do no not want your increases this year and that you can wait till next year for an increase? Yes, I know you’re probably scratching your head and wondering who this wacko is, you will soon find out. It is no joke, it is a serious request for compassion for all of us on fixed incomes to help us this year to make it through this year without fear of more tax increases. Now I know we are stuck with the state throwing more at us, but they are not my neighbors, people I see each day and hold conversations with. We are neighbors who help each other in the time of need.
Thank you for reading such a long story, but I hope it has given you some thought and perhaps we can start a new conversation of neighbor helping neighbor.