The political elitism from the arrogance of power may have cost Coventry taxpayers over 1 million dollars. That is a lot of money for a Town the size of Coventry so let’s take a look at what happen and see if the loss is necessary.
The current Town Council majority has let the power of their positions develop an arrogance of power, a political elitism where politicians act and the people are suppose to follow blindly. If Coventry is to be a government of the people our Town Council should be far more open and trusting of the people.
First it was the issue of recycling and trash bins and now it is the Pucker Street Bridge. In the first case Councilman Richard Williams acted much like Paul Revere as he rode through the Town with flyers to alert the people what the arrogance of power was about to do. The people acted and continued to voice their strong opposition to the majority leadership on the Town Council until the “green bags” and orange bins became a relic of the past.
Now the arrogance and elitism has again caused an alarm to be sounded within the community. The question of the Pucker Street Bridge was on the November ballot and was defeated. The voters were largely left in the dark about this project. The majority leadership on the Town Council depended on the trust of the people to blindly vote for the project because they approved it. That is political elitism and an arrogance of power that could well cost the citizens of Coventry over $1,000,000.
The bridge project was a necessary project, an expenditure that will fall on the shoulders of the taxpayers now or in the future. The real question was how much do the citizens of Coventry want to pay for the repair? The real question wasn’t if but rather how much and when.
Informed citizens would have voted in favor of the bridge if they realized the real need for the repair and the true cost to delay the repair. The cost today with approved federal grants funding most of the project left only $320,000 for Coventry taxpayers to spend. The cost tomorrow will be far higher because according to Town Manager John Elsesser the project no longer qualifies for a federal grant, therefore taxpayers will someday shoulder far more cost. In the words of Mr. Elsesser, “What’s at stake is asking today’s taxpayers to pay $320,000 or tomorrow’s taxpayers to pay $1.5million”.
The Town Council voted recently to take another step to keep the project active and thereby remain eligible for the federal grant. Once again Mr. Williams stepped forward to make a motion to continue the process by spending only $15,000 and thereby potentially save Coventry taxpayers $1,000,000 that was good judgment. What the majority on the Town Council must now do is explain the reasoning to the taxpayers. They can not depend on their arrogance of power, their political elitism or their own endorsement of the project to assure support from the taxpayers.
The times are changing the winds of change are being driven by a weak economy and government spending is no longer being ignored by the taxpayers. The elected leadership at all levels must do a better job of communication and explanation of expenditures if they want support for necessary projects. Merely wanting a project will not be enough justification and communication will be vital.
The weeds of political elitism developed from the arrogance of power must be rooted from the gardens in the land of steady habits. It is time for the Town Council and the Board of Education to change their patterns behavior and style of leadership.
The Town Council and Board of Education in Coventry tend to work in a dark vacuum. When given the opportunity to inform the people too often the opportunity is wasted with feel good rhetoric. One needs only to read a series of Coventry Monthly insertions from the Superintendent of schools or Town newsletters to see a good example