Letter: Herbst imperils Trumbull finances, seeks to override will of voters

To the Editor:

Tim Herbst’s response to Mrs. Tesoro’s common-sense proposal about pension funding makes my head spin.

In his six years in office, Mr. Herbst had 12 opportunities to fund our pensions at ARC (six times for the Police and six for the Town Pension). Did he do it each and every time? No, he did not.

Last year, he sought to tie the hands of future first selectmen by promoting a Trumbull Charter change that would have mandated pension funding at ARC. In other words, Mr. Herbst sought to strip away the pension funding flexibility he has enjoyed. Voters fortunately rejected that radical proposal out of hand.

Having failed once to convince our voters, he will soon try again to do the same thing, but now by an ordinance he will present to his party-dominated Town Council. One might ask, why would the Town Council, which represent the people of Trumbull, vote differently from the way those very people voted last November? I guess we will soon see.

Mrs. Tesoro, in contrast, has laid out a two-year plan, one that coincides with the term she seeks as first selectman and that meets the letter of our charter. Her plan will undo past underfunding in a fiscally responsible way, one our taxpayers can afford.

Hers is no grandiose Herbst-like Trumbull 2025 plan, one that focuses on a time long after this career politician will have left our community for higher office.

But here is the real head-spinner: Town Treasurer John Ponzio told the Board of Finance at its August meeting that Trumbull is within striking distance of a higher bond rating. Later that same evening Republican Board of Finance Chair Elaine Hammers spoke against two spending proposals totaling $40,000 because funding them would have erased the General Fund margin suggested by the ratings agencies to keep our current Aa+ rating.

So, Mr. Herbst, which is it? Are we on the verge of a higher rating or precipitously perched on the verge of losing our current one?
Roy Fuchs