Voting "yes" on a levy after listening to feel-good sound bites instead of the facts discourages answerability in government spending. Without additional planning in place, Orange Township does not need a new park or road levy right now; we have a $6 million park reserve and enough money to maintain roads. The two levies on the Nov. 8 ballot were decided with no forethought or research just eight days after an employee stated that we needed them.

To the Editor:

Voting "yes" on a levy after listening to feel-good sound bites instead of the facts discourages answerability in government spending. Without additional planning in place, Orange Township does not need a new park or road levy right now; we have a $6 million park reserve and enough money to maintain roads. The two levies on the Nov. 8 ballot were decided with no forethought or research just eight days after an employee stated that we needed them.

Unlike other governments, Orange Township has not created a detailed plan with timetable for park projects and spending of the reserve, despite repeated requests by many. Instead, provided were documents (many of them post-facto) with ambiguous figures that included the total cost of all future projects, which will take years to complete. Where is the accountability?

Over the past six years, Orange Township has spent an average of just 37 percent of what it said it would spend on parks, resulting in the surplus. If we are going to double or triple our spending over the next three years, you should know how your money will be spent, including the cost of the additional personnel required to complete the work. Otherwise, there will still be a large surplus in three years when the new levy expires.

Orange Township has never had a road levy and the trustees have never discussed it. The claim that we have doubled our road mileage over the past few years and thus need more money to maintain the roads is invalid; the owner of each new home pays into the general fund, which is used to pay for road maintenance. As new homes (and subsequently new roads) are built, more money is paid into the general fund. To support the need for a new road levy, the township has simply published the usual costs to repair roads over the next few years. Additionally, we have already set aside $7.7 million for major road improvements.

The park and road levy taxes are relatively small, but that doesn't take away from the fact that you deserve a responsible government. If you are comfortable with the township maintaining a large surplus of your money, vote "yes." Then insist that Orange Township provide a detailed plan with timetable for our spending on both parks and roads, and that we dramatically step up the pace on our projects.

Lisa Knapp

Orange Township trustee