To the Editor:
We attended our first Orange Township trustee meeting on Jan. 22 to learn more about the upcoming fire levy and left disappointed at the behavior of all three trustees and the fiscal officer. To become Eagle Scouts, both our sons attended prior Orange Township trustee meetings for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge. Few experiences could violate as many of the 12 tenets of the Scout Law as what we observed at this meeting.
As far as the fire levy goes, our sympathies are with the firefighters caught between trustees unwilling to make tough decisions, a union bent on maintaining the status quo, and taxpayers in a poor economy tired of being squeezed. Our take-away after all the arguing is that the new contract terms are not well understood or communicated, thus making the projected cost-savings questionable. Only lowering the new levy request 0.3 mills from what voters soundly rejected last November is an insincere response to taxpayer's voices.
Combining this with the sudden announcement that adequate police protection is unaffordable at the same time the 2013 appropriations on the township website shows a large increase in the parks budget brings the entire management of the township into question. If mandatory allocation of money into buckets is forcing the prioritizing of shrubs and bike paths over police and fire protection, something is seriously wrong.
Taxpayers will have to decide for themselves if they should vote for a levy raising taxes and rewarding the trustees' behavior or against it to force re-examination of how they are managing the township and themselves. Vote wisely.