I have been to every single school and municipal budget workshops this year, and Rich Ellis has not been to any to realize what is going on with either budget side.

Brunswick Superintendent Paul Perzanoski, with salary and all of his benefits, earns roughly $200,000 a year now and there is now only one other superintendent in the State of Maine that earns more than he does. Almost half of the Brunswick contract school teachers salary, plus benefits, is roughly $100,000 a year. They are some of the highest paid in the state, and we taxpayers just can’t afford their out-of-reach increases every year.

The retirees on Social Security have not had a pay increase in the last 5 out of 7 years and can’t afford these out of the world salaries we taxpayers are paying for with our property taxes.

In the last 7 years, school budgets have gone up dramatically while the municipal side has had to cut because the school board won’t cut their budget, so as a result, Brunswick infrastructure is crumbling due to lack of funding and many positions had to be cut out of the municipal budgets.

The Town of Brunswick also gave the school department $1 million for its budget at least three years in a row because the school department wouldn’t cut its budget, because if the Town hadn’t, our tax rate would have been through the roof.

The town has acquired numerous parcels of land over the years whether from family estates or now from the U.S. government on (former) Brunswick Naval Air Station grounds. There are not enough recreation department personnel to take care of all the town-owned properties and as a result, the recreation department has decided to hire another worker to help keep the properties taken care of. The employees they have can’t get it all done.

One thing Rich Ellis is not thinking about is the comparison of the school vs. municipal budget increase. When you have a school budget of $38 million, it takes a lot more money to increase that budget by 1 percent than it does a smaller municipal budget of $26 million. It takes less to increase a smaller budget than it does a bigger budget.

There is, in this municipal budget, some funding for taking care of our crumbling roads and that is the equivalent to a 1 percent ($400,000) increase alone, and another 1 percent $400,000 increase for building upkeep and repairs. One other thing Rich doesn’t realize is that the municipal budget takes care of the entire Town of Brunswick of 20,000-plus residents, roads, and everything else associated with the town.

I was not at the budget adoption meeting as I knew no public comment was allowed, however, Sarah Brayman and Steve Walker got the town council to allow Rich Ellis to speak and that is playing dirty pool.

He says the school budget is too low, well, residents in the Town of Brunswick feel it is way too high. There has been a quietly growing resident movement in the Town of Brunswick that intend to say the school budget is way TOO HIGH, so we feel that what Rich Ellis is trying to do will backfire on him when the residents of Brunswick vote on the school budget on June 13!

What Rich Ellis also doesn’t understand is that if and when the State gives us more money than anticipated, the school department will get $400,000 to put back in its budget, the municipal side will get $200,000 to help lower the town budget and anything over the $600,000 will all go to the school department. This will also be stipulated on voting day.

Jean Powers
Brunswick