Criticizing Wilton’s ‘big spenders’

o the Editor:

There are four words in the English language that end in “dous,” and two of them describe some of the votes at Wilton’s Town Meeting: “horrendous” and “hazardous.”

It is time for Wilton taxpayers to circle the wagons and take more interest in how the big spenders voted to use tax dollars like Monopoly money and also plan to circumvent the purpose of the Roland Cooley Fund by enacting an amendment to use all of his gift to finance their pie-in-the-sky projects.

I used to know Roland Cooley as a neighbor and friend when his love for Wilton motivated him to leave a gift specifically established for improvements to the area directly abutting the Town Hall. This did not mean the Souhegan River or the New Reservoir. If passing years and improvements to the area now support an amendment, it should only be designated to areas within the core of Wilton, including Whiting Park, where park benches, trees, a bandstand and a pavilion for barbecues would benefit ALL Wilton residents for events like Old Home Days, band concerts and patriotic observances. The big spenders’ proposals are like building a bridge on Whiting Park and then asking taxpayers to find a river to go under it!

The proposal for a riverwalk requiring an initial $42,450 in concert with $100,000 to turn the New Reservoir into a swimming and recreational area simply means artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. Neither of these proposed projects would ever benefit or be used by the majority of Wilton’s taxpayers, and should be stored in the selectmen’s room vault and used to remind taxpayers what can happen when watching “Wheel of Fortune” is more important than attending the annual Town Meeting.

The paying of $7,000 of taxpayer dollars to a consultant to plan some of these activities is like someone telling you what time it is while using your watch.

However, as one who has studied and written about Wilton’s town history, it appears Wilton may be the first town in New Hampshire to create a separate cemetery space for “green burials,” with the Board of Selectmen abandoning their responsibilities to monitor all new proposals that impact all residents and turning it over to the cemetery board of trustees to make the decision. Green burials mean no embalming, no cement vault, and the deceased may be wrapped in a shroud or placed in a wooden box.

Cemetery trustees appear to be making their approval upon historical evidence that burials in the early days of Wilton were done under similar circumstances, begging the question of who is paying for the clearing of 56 spaces and who will pay for the additional mowing, etc.

As an 86-year-old man looking to the future, I have asked Wilton’s foremost expert on when, where and what is underground, Charlie McGettigan, to find a tree in case I might like to be buried like John Badger, who was Wilton’s first death in 1740 and was buried in a hollowed-out log, covered with wood chips and buried off upper Dale Street, where his remains are to this day.

We all love to spend money, particularly when it is someone else’s, but some folks just don’t realize that perhaps the best living environment can be enjoyed by what we already have. Example: Most of us can remember learning to swim in the river at the horseshoe; now we have Goss Park.

My days may be numbered, but I still recall when our local government leadership for over 250 years was based on fiscal management of resources, appointments of qualified department heads and a recognition that our taxpayers once knew the difference between wants and needs. Hopefully our new board will work to restore this environment.

Francis Gros Louis

Leesburg, Va.