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Is government working for the people?

October 31, 2011
I served in the military to preserve the American way. I did not serve to defend a deceptive government that works against the people. Government treats veterans in different ways. Some vets get parades and hand claps and lots of praise. Others face deceptive government; a government that is happy to steal a retired vet’s pension.
The Town of East Longmeadow Department of Public Works discussed its sewer project with me deceptively, first by referring to linear feet of pipe and then switching to calling it betterment. The contractor was paid for putting linear feet of pipe in the ground not betterment. If it is government for the people this flim-flam would never exist! The contractors never charged the Town for a flim-flam. As the property owner, I understood I was going to pay for sewer pipe! Instead I’m charged by my frontage along the road when over 46 percent of it has no sewer pipe on it. This is where my pension gets stolen.
I went to a hearing where I asked why the town would want to do this to me. Their response was “Because we can.” This is government for the people? Or is this a dictatorship dictating to me what would be done? They were not willing to cooperate or negotiate. The law does not require that they have to treat a citizen this way. My government is working against me. I did not serve to defend this form of government. I thought our elected officials were to serve the people. The DPW is not serving the people. My question at this time is: What rights do I have as an elderly citizen in this town?
In my case, this action is resulting in financial loss and increase in taxes to me different from that suffered by the other taxpayers benefiting from the installation. Other taxpayers on the street received pipe along their entire frontage and were charged accordingly. This inequity must be redressed.
My situation fits the circumstances of the upheld ruling in the case of Driscoll v. Inhabitants of Northbridge, 210 Mass. 151, 96 N.E. 59 (1911). This case is a tax, sewer assessment case that went to the Massachusetts Superior Court. The legal precedent established in favor of the tax payer has withstood the passage of time. As in my situation, the case involved petitioners against a town for the revision of a sewer assessment where the apportioning of the cost included assessment of the abutters on the sewer line. The uniform rate assessed was cost per foot of frontage. It was found that the benefit was equal to less than the amount of the assessment. The principle adopted in making the assessment was correct but when applied to the petitioner’s land, it worked harshly and produced an assessment largely in excess of the benefit. The plan of assessment was found to be just and commonly produced equitable results, but the petition was granted because of the harshness to the estate. This is exactly my situation.
At a subsequent hearing, I asked the DPW about the Driscoll case. They would not discuss it. What is their job? They told me to write to the Town Council/Lawyer. I am paying his wages. He, like the DPW, is working against me. This is senior abuse.
Each citizen is paying the town to serve the people. If the Town was serving the people, they would have brought the Driscoll case forth and I would not have someone research and find the case for me. The Town is dictating to me what they are going to do and telling me it’s too late to be fair about this case. Throughout this process I have observed too many deceptive practices. I was told numerous times that, if I didn’t like the law, go to Boston and get it changed. This is bullying. What has been done in this situation is harassment. I went to the Town for help and instead found they were against me and only offered discouragement. It has placed an undue financial hardship on my household. Citizens should be heard and not treated this way. Instead of our DPW officials working to provide a service to residents, they are working against them. The DPW officials are running an illegal form of government in East Longmeadow. Is government closed to the people?
George Tracy, East Longmeadow

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