To the Editor:

Board of Finance candidate Tom Kelly would actually try to have Trumbull taxpayers believe that the Herbst Administration has not provided strong financial leadership for Trumbull. The average tax increase under the Herbst administration over a four year period has been 1.88% — below inflation. Under Mr. Herbst's predecessor, the average annual tax increase was 6%.  Mr. Herbst and his team have been able to stabilize taxes while fixing the pension fund and paying down excessive amounts of debt that Mr. Herbst inherited four years ago. The 17% increase in non-education spending that Mr. Kelly references was driven by a 91.63% increase in pension contributions and debt service (mainly to pay for the high school renovation, started before Mr. Herbst took office). Why a large increase in pension contributions?  The Herbst administration decided to solve the problem, rather than kick the can and followed the recommendations of actuaries and all three financial rating agencies. Mr. Kelly references the mill rate, however, what he fails to explain is that the mill rate increase is the direct result of property revaluation, which is a state mandated process that must occur every five years. As most Trumbull taxpayers know, residential property taxes decreased last year.

As we approach this important election season, it is very important that we select members of our boards and commissions that are interested in a better Trumbull, not members who seek to attack our First Selectman. It should be highlighted that in 2009, Mr. Kelly was a vocal Republican and very critical about former First Selectman Ray Baldwin. Since 2009, Mr. Kelly changed his political affiliation five times. He went from being an Independent, to a Republican, back to an Independent, only to become a Republican again, so he could lead a group called Republicans and Independents for Thornton. When his candidate lost the election, he then became a Democrat. In 2009, he criticized former First Selectman Ray Baldwin for tax increases that averaged 6%, yet as a Democrat Board of Education member, he has voted to increase the Board of Education operating budget 19.55% in four years.

Every Trumbull voter should consider these facts when reading Mr. Kelly's letters to the editor. For some reason, Mr. Kelly doesn't like First Selectman Tim Herbst and it appears that he will go to great lengths to discredit him. Sophisticated taxpayers and voters need to carefully select the next Board of Finance members based on the credentials of the candidates and select Board members that will govern with the best interests of Trumbull in mind, not members that operate by attacking our leaders in the press.

Paul Lavoie, Vice Chairman

Board of Finance