It will only get more expensive

It is unusual when voters at a town or school district deliberative session add money to an operating budget, so when they do, it’s easy to understand that the item to which they’ve added the money is important to them.

That was the case in Amherst recently during the town Deliberative Session when voters added $200,000 to the budget for road maintenance. And, too, it was money suggested by the Ways & Means Committee, which is not known for its crazy spending habits.

The logic in spending money on maintenance of roads was advanced by George Bower, a resident who correctly pointed out that it costs many times more to reconstruct a road than to maintain it, something that voters in all towns have forgotten in the past, much to their fiscal chagrin.

As we all know – and as always comes up in meeting at which maintenance or new construction is discussed – the price of materials never goes down, and that is as true of materials to maintain a road, or a building, as it is to reconstruct one. So in general, the sooner something is done about the problem, the cheaper the fix will be.

“Do it now because it’s needed and it will only cost us more later” should be a regular mantra at town and school district meetings. Sometimes, though, it isn’t, usually because the economy isn’t doing well and people are feeling the pinch of increased costs, loss of income and rising taxes. We understand that.

The problem is, these very same people will be faced with the very same problems down the road, and of course, it’s only going to cost more. And as we all know too well, the cost of things continues to outpace the growth in income – except for that fortunate 1 percent – so one way or another, we’re going to take the hit.

Better to take it sooner than in that more costly later, and that’s something the folks in Amherst understood.