GOP — Budget promises broken
The First Selectman’s campaign promised voters many things: A resolution to repeal salary increases, lower administrative expenses, low taxes, a budget savings of $2 Million, and increased public input. However, the budget passed last Wednesday by the Democrat-controlled Town Council promised only one thing – a $3 million increase.
Not only will the budget be increasing, but when Republicans moved to add public comment to allow those in attendance to speak, the motion was rejected by the Democratic majority.
This budget increase comes on the heels of our town auditor’s report which noted that due to the responsible fiscal management of the previous administration, the town realized a $1.5 million surplus from last year’s budget. Coupled with the $1.4 million in additional savings from refinancing our bonding debt last fall, we wonder why we have an increase at all.
The budget put forward by this administration fails to reduce executive positions, fails to reduce the first selectman’s pay along with other key members of her staff, and continues to promote double dipping for patronage appointments.
Instead of limiting waste, the town treasurer expends $20,000 per year for investment advice for investments that have shown a loss rather than a gain. Our town treasurer manages other accounts without high-priced investment advisors, he should be able to do so for all accounts. While the Republican caucus requested reasonable budgeting by cutting such unnecessary expenses, the majority voted along party-lines to support this expense and waste further funds.
Historically, the first selectman and the Democrats objected to the Director of Parks and Recreation position, and continuously argued against the need of the Chief of Staff position in the First Selectman’s office, citing the cost as too high and unnecessary for our town. However, now that the new first selectman is in office and the Democratic Party holds majority, this first selectman supports not one, but two chiefs of staff, and the majority voted to maintain those positions.
Further, when it was realized the Director of Parks & Recreation no longer needed the Republicans voted to remove this position, however, the First Selectman not only fully funded the position for the upcoming budget year, but also promoted the current Parks Director to the position without any notice to the Town Council.
As your Republican Town Council Representatives, we will continue to fight in the best interests of our town, voicing concerns, keeping the residents aware of what is taking place, while offering assistance and input when we can. Our wish is to work with the First Selectman to promote continued positive change, but we will not be silent when we believe the chosen path is wrong. We do not want a town divided by politics, but it is the job of the minority party to hold the majority accountable to the promises they made in seeking public office. That is our job and we will continue to work to represent, protect and serve the residents of our town.
Republican Town Council Representatives
Ann Marie Evangelista