Letter to the editor: Franklin County’s voters face two questions on Tuesday

4 mins read

My fellow Franklin County citizens,

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, we have a golden opportunity to protect our individual rights and magnify our personal power as voters, taxpayers, and Mainers.

This is awesome. Here’s why:

Franklin County’s question 1 asks whether or not the county treasurer should be appointed by Franklin County commissioners, rather than elected by the people of Franklin County. Should every voter in Franklin County give up the right to choose who manages our tax dollars? As it stands right now, having an elected county treasurer provides a much needed check-and-balance system in our local communities. The sitting county commissioners want to take that power from us. They want to appoint a treasurer who will sign off on whatever decisions they make without question. That’s a bad look for democracy and a terrible way to conduct business with public funds.

Actually, I find it bizarre that our sitting Franklin County commissioners endorse this and rushed it on the ballot. The three sitting county commissioners are strident conservatives who regularly make it clear they believe that the government has too much power and influence over our individual lives. They believe government spending is out of control, social services should be paid for by the individuals who use them, and taxpayers know how to best spend their money.

So why do the Franklin County commissioners want to strip us of our right to choose our Franklin County treasurer? It’s a weird power grab that makes no sense unless they’re just looking out for their own self-interests.

Which takes us to super-awesome-how-cool-that-we-get-to-decide-this item two on the ballot. Franklin County Question 2 asks us whether or not we want to increase the number of Franklin County commissioners from three to five. This would improve the representation of taxpayers in Franklin County, especially in the northern and the southern ends where most of the tax dollars are generated.

Having greater representation would mean increased accountability over government spending and a more direct line between taxpayers and officials. And that’s why this vote has massive bi-partisan support from local and state officials alike. Republicans and Democrats agree on something and the independent voices think it’s fantastic, too.

This might be the best part: a more representative commission doesn’t have to cost us anything. Franklin County commissioners decide their salaries, their schedules, their agenda items, the whole bit. The sitting commissioners have chosen to pay themselves $12,000 a year for their work. It’s a lot of work for three people, so I can appreciate them wanting to be compensated for the jobs they’ve volunteered to do. However, many hands make light work, so it would be expected and reasonable that with five members, the Franklin County commissioners would adjust their salaries accordingly to protect the county budget and better reflect the individual workload. It’s fiscally responsible and common sense.

All of this is to say — and yes, I wrote a lot because I’m excited to vote on Tuesday. I hope we all are. Where was I? Yes. Right. All of this is to say — Vote No on Franklin County Question 1 to protect our rights and Vote Yes on Franklin County Question 2 to strengthen our voices. It’s good for our wallets and it’s good for our democracy.

Dan Ryder
North Jay

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