In a recent letter to the editor of The Public Spirit, Ayer Planning Board Member Jeremy Callahan stated, “I agree the weeds should be treated on Flanagan Pond. However, Flanagan Pond property owners enjoy most of the gain in value resulting from this investment, and they should be asked to contribute a greater share of the total cost.”
When I first read this I was rather disturbed that a fellow townsperson would suggest such a divisive approach to the funding of services or stewardship usually provided out of the tax revenues raised by the Town of Ayer. However, the more I thought about it, the more it appealed to me, assuming that we are permitted to apply that same logic to all expenditures in the Town.
Let’s examine what the single largest expense is in the Town. Oh, it’s education! Well the good news for me is I do not have any children in the school. So, since I do not “enjoy most of the gain in value resulting from this investment”, I should get a pass on paying for everyone else’s kids schooling. As a matter of fact, though I have lived in Ayer for all of my sixty years and never spent a single day in the Ayer school system, I suggest that maybe I am due a refund.
Continuing with Mr Callahan’s logic, the Annual Town Meeting agreed to fund a nice Pocket Park at the site of the old Pleasant Street School. I voted to support this $100K project. What I fool I must be, I will not “enjoy most of the gain in value resulting from this investment,” that’s on the other side of Town. Though it sounds like wonderful asset to the Town, particularly to that neighborhood, why would I go across town to sit on a bench in a garden?
As a community, we choose to spend money on many goods and services that provide an overall benefit to our citizens. By God’s grace, I have not had a house fire, but I certainly would not suggest I should not fund the Fire Department because I do not “enjoy most of the gain in value resulting from this investment”.
For some unknown reason, there appears to be a resentment towards any maintenance of Flannagan Pond. Excuses abound. Blame is shifted. Eyes are closed. In regards to the acquisition of Conservation Land, this Town has made substantial progress over the past 20 years, but as a whole, it has grossly neglected one of it’s most precious Open Space environments, it’s ponds. And Flannagan Pond, my friend, is the poster child of neglect.