Capital plan shows misplaced priorities
To the editor:
The current administration likes to promote itself as operating with transparency; however, as exhibited once again at the March Town Council meeting, their actions speak far louder than their words, proving that it is more opaque than ever before. The out-of-control spending proposals of this administration, combined with the rubber stamping mindset of the Democrat-controlled Town Council, enables a proposed spending free-for-all to be funded by the hardworking taxpayers of Trumbull for years to come.
For example, the administration’s Five-year Capital Improvement Plan proposes a staggering $151 million of capital spending over the next five years; $20 million in 2020, $61 million in 2021, $40 million in 2022, $20 million in 2023 and $10 million in 2024. To put this in context, the town will retire approximately $13 million of debt this year. You do the math on how much extra debt we could all be signed up to repay each year.
The majority party, in a less-than-transparent way, describes their capital plan as “not a real plan” yet, in the next breath, they explain that “It represents all the potential projects that could be considered to benefit the town.” Which way is it?
Although the capital plan does not commit the town to spending on any of the line items, it is a certain first step in that direction, otherwise these projects would never have been proposed in the first place. The amount of debt/bonding that would be placed on the shoulders of the taxpayers to fund these spending plans is nothing short of incredible.
Some of the spending proposals that are on the horizon include, among others: separate, standalone and newly constructed buildings to house a state-of-the-art Aquatics Center at Beach Park, a Senior Center on the current Board of Education administration site, a new building for the Board of Education administration, and a major library refurbishment.
To add onto the $151 million of proposed Five Year Capital plan projects, the council majority rubber-stamped another $10 million of potential bonding for land acquisition at the March council meeting. They state that it is not costing the taxpayers anything until used, and that it is good to have this money approved so if real property becomes available, they can move on it right away- nothing short of an open taxpayer checkbook.
It is imprudent, if not fiscally irresponsible; to add to the debt burden of the taxpayers when the first selectman is already unable to fully fund the education budget that is projecting a $2 million deficit for this year alone.
This is a case of misplaced priority. All of this proposed, approved, or pending spending does not include the 2.59% tax increase that the first selectman has proposed for next year, one that will surely be rubber-stamped by the majority in the Town Council.
We will continue to fight for responsible, controlled and fiscally prudent spending to keep Trumbull as affordable a place to live as possible.
Steve Lemoine, R-4th
Carl Massaro, R-3rd
Lori Rosasco Schwartz, R-3rd
Donna Seidell, R-1st
Tony Scinto, R-2nd