Letter: Dwindling of small town agencies a shame

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To the editor,

And to the Mayor, Joint Boards of Naugatuck and others elected to make reasonable decisions for the residents of Naugatuck. I am appalled to learn that you are considered cutting off the funding of Naugatuck VNA this year, and while you didn’t, you have chosen to follow through with the recommendations of an outside source and seek privatization.

It pains me that our former director, Anne Butler, died less than six months ago and already you want to divest yourselves from our ties to the town. Mrs. Butler did not even get time to enjoy her retirement, as many of us who worked with her know. I worked with Mrs. Butler for 11 years and know her long-time dedication both to the borough of Naugatuck and its people through her work at Naugatuck VNA and other borough organizations. She held off on her retirement so that she could be sure that the agency would remain viable and an asset to the town during a time of great financial adjustments worldwide. Many of you who befriended her throughout the years, who served on the VNA board or were the liaison between the town and the agency, are now part of this recent decision. I personally feel she has been betrayed as well as her family members and VNA staff, both active and retired.

Working with this agency throughout the years for me was like working with one’s family. Our relationships with our townsfolk clients are key to the dedication we feel and the care that we render. I am a transplant to this town — I am not a borough native. But I have always felt secure here, knowing that this town supported their townsfolk, young and old alike, through the services they offered and the pride and dedication in which this was carried out.

Now I am upset. Not with the fact that the world is changing, the pace is faster and times are hard for all of us. I am basically angry because a decision such as the above did not have to be made this year. You could have let us adjust to our loss, in the person that Anne Butler was, and all that the agency meant to her.

The small town agencies are dwindling and that is a shame. No matter how good they are, combined mega corporations do not give the personal time and care (a fine attribute to have) that smaller, in-town agencies do. It is the same with banks and local stores. And, once this has been given up you can’t get it back.

Our taxes will continue to go up, they always do, but the people of Naugatuck will have less to show for it. I used to be proud to tell other folks all that Naugatuck offered — soon that too will be history.

Thank you for allowing me to vent. Perhaps the people of Naugatuck and other small town New England towns will start to acquaint themselves with just what it is that our taxes support. Do we really need the six-figure salaries of superintendents, when what we need are educators for all ages. Nurses and counselors, at each end of the spectrum, are educators too.

Barbara Bauer

Naugatuck