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September 07, 2011 - Dear Editor,

After reading the Aug. 20 and 27 editions of The Citizen, I must comment on articles concerning actions by our elected officials in Brandon Township.

First is the township board's action to increase the mileage payments to the fire department: The taxpayers need to understand the reason for the increase. It's not to maintain current levels of fire protection, it's to pay the mortgage on a piece or property that the board approved a $1,369,000 payment on. Large enough to build 30 fire stations and has a current value of $220,000. Another example of Brandon's tax and spend attitude over many, many years. The original board-approved expenditure was for $1.9 million but the school board bought a piece of the property to add on to a parking lot, an additional taxpayer expense of $531,000. But who's counting.

Second: Here's one the taxpayers will appreciate from the minutes of the latest township board meeting: A unanimous vote to transfer the SMART Municipal credit to the Brandon Township Recreation Department. You remember, the park that was voted down three times by the voters and they built it anyway. Here's a quote from SMART's web site: "The Municipal Credit Program is a revenue sharing program that supports operation of local transportation services." How did the park get the money?

Third: Aug. 27, Brandon Township requests proposals for human resource services. This is a new program for the township and will obviously cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars at a time when money for everything except "The Park" is being cut. And what need is being filled by outsourcing HR services? The township board and staff will not have to take responsibility for some of the duties they were supposed to be performing.

Fourth: The Board of Education's half page ad promoting their career and technical education programs. Why did this advertisement at additional taxpayers' dollars have to be duplicated in Spanish? According to the Census, Brandon is only 1.6 percent Hispanic, of which 97 percent of those households speak English. Looks like the board is trying to pull students from low-performing school districts and by the mere existence of a Spanish ad are insinuating that those potential nine through 12 students can't read English. That certainly won't create any problems for the day-to-day operation of the Brandon Schools. Follow the money.

Tom Harrelson

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