I read with interest and some amazement the news article “On the Roads, again” published in the Oct. 5 Colchester Sun. This was a report of the public hearing held by the town on winter plowing of private roads in Colchester. Frankly, I was astounded by the selfishness and hypocrisy expressed by some of the speakers against the cessation of this unwarranted practice by the town in the past 40-plus years.
“Steve Oakland wondered whether he would be legally obligated to plow his portion of a private road because neighbors needed to drive on the path to reach their own homes.”
Well, Steve, if you are content to remain housebound until the snow melts, I suppose your neighbors might chip in to include your stretch of road in the agreement they make with a private plow operator. However, they may not be too happy about your refusal to cover your share of the cost. Further, your indifference would be in direct contradiction to the feelings expressed by Judy Hillis below.
Judy Hillis expressed concern “about students who receive special education services and currently live on plowed private roads. If those roads are not plowed by the town, how are those children going to get to the bus to get to school?”
Hmm … what about the regular students who live on the road? In any case, Judy, perhaps a parent could take the children to the bus, or better yet, perhaps the homeowners might “pull together, and take care of each other” and hire a private plow operator to plow the street.
Further, Hillis later referred to the town’s estimated savings if town plowing of private roads ceased, as being the equivalent of an average tax reduction per taxpayer of $3.16. She implied that this is a very small cost for the “health and safety and welfare” of one’s parents (who may live on such roads).
Yes, Judy, this is a small cost to each individual taxpayer, but multiplied by the number of taxpayers who are unjustly assessed for this practice, how would you like to pay this total cost divided by those privileged few served by this practice, instead of being spread across the entire tax base of property owners? Perhaps there would have been fewer of those applauding your expression of concern than was reported in the Sun.
Last, Hillis stated, “This is not the time to divide. This is a time that we need to pull together and take care of each other.”
Judy, it seems you have hit on the solution! Homeowners should “pull together, and take care of each other” and hire a private plow operator to clear the street. This will extend your expressed concern for others to those who now pay your cost for plowing your street and would then show a sincere concern for all the rest of us, as well.
Harry G. Waltner is a Colchester resident.