Democrats propose alternate budget

Democratic members of the Trumbull Board of Finance proposed nearly $2 million in reductions to First Selectman Tim Herbst’s budget last week. The proposals were mostly defeated on party line votes of 4-2, with only a few of the cuts being accepted by the majority.

Instead, the Republicans slashed almost every budget line by 3.5% and made an even greater 4.2% reduction to the school budget. The budget approved by the Board of Finance now goes to the Town Council for further possible modifications.

“This is a difficult budget season, made more so by the state proposals that Trumbull Democrats strongly oppose,” said Democratic board member Vicki Tesoro. “The Republicans’ approach of just cutting most budget lines by 3.5%, combined with their reductions to public safety and even larger cuts to education, and their support of taxes disguised as fees, makes it impossible to support this budget. Most distressing is First Selectman Tim Herbst’s refusal to share essential financial information with the whole board. In spite of this gamesmanship, we have worked long and hard to create a budget that preserves essential services and prevents imposing a $1 million ‘trash tax’ on Trumbull residents.”

Tesoro said the Trumbull Democrats based their alternative budget plan on four core principles:

  • Prioritize public safety and education.

  • Target all reductions on specific items, focused on excessive spending.

  • Consider alternatives to current service models where possible.

  • Ensure complete transparency, including opposing all taxes disguised as fees.

Specifically, the Democratic proposals reduce excessive attorney’s fees, eliminate funding for rental and relocation expenses proposed to move the Board of Education offices, and reduce other areas of excessive spending while maintaining vital town services, including public safety and education, Tesoro said.

The Democrats opposed Republican reductions to the police, emergency management, EMS, fire marshal, human services and education budgets.

“This year’s budget proved to be quite daunting compared to those in the past,” said Democratic board member Andrew Palo. “Due to the uncertainty coming from Harford, I’m proud that Vicki and I have identified nearly $2 million dollars in budget savings to mitigate the effect on Trumbull taxpayers. We did it without cutting any public safety or senior-service budgets, and we maintained the education budget so that Trumbull will continue to attract new families, preserving our property values and keeping our community vibrant.”

Tesoro said the budget passed by the Republican majority on the finance board doesn’t reflect the priorities of the people of the town.

“It’s filled with overspending and fee increases that are really just ways to extract more money from our residents,” she said. “Even though the Town Council is also dominated by Republicans, we hope that they will see the wisdom in our targeted approach, and accept our proposals to reducing excessive spending while maintaining essential services in our town.”