Casteen criticizes board for fireworks vote

Published 10:57 am Saturday, February 23, 2013

To the Editor:

Less than six months ago, a fellow board member wrote that I and the two fellow board members were “irresponsible.”

He felt we were irresponsible because we stopped him and another board member from raising real estate taxes to a total increase of 33 percent in less than 15 months.

Those same two board members that wanted to raise taxes are probably going to call me and two fellow board members irresponsible again because we stopped them from eliminating the fireworks at the July Fourth celebrations in Smithfield and Windsor.

They told me it was their goal to negatively impact the most citizens with budget cuts so the citizens would see that “they” were making the “tough choices.”

I say, “bull!”

That strategy to negatively impact as many citizens as possible in order to convince the public that those two board members are demonstrating good fiscal governance is insane. Besides that, the two towns are paying for 25 percent of the fireworks.

The net savings to the county was going to be $11,000; yep, just $11,000 out of the $95 million budget that those two managed to increase by $4 million last year over the objections of (Newport District Supervisor) Buzz Bailey and myself.

Smithfield just waived $89,000 in fees for the new rescue squad building, which those same two voted against building.

Smithfield pays more than half of the total tourism budget for the county. Get that — Smithfield PAYS the county for more than half of the total tourism budget, approaching $200,000 per year.

If you see (Windsor District Supervisor) Dee Dee (Darden) or Buzz, please be sure to thank them for the fireworks and not purposely slighting both town councils, especially Smithfield that had just saved the county $89,000 three weeks earlier. That savings alone covers the cost of the fireworks for the next eight years.

“Irresponsible” Al Casteen
Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors
Smithfield District