Letter: Herbst failed to respond to the issues

Editor's Note: Democratic Board of Finance candidate Tom Kelly recently responded to First Selectman Timothy Herbst’s recent statement on a variety of issues.

To the Editor:

Mr. Herbst recently released a long-winded statement that read more like War and Peace rather than a concise discussion of the issues at hand. It appears that the First Selectman was unnerved by having to defend his record, which has not been a good one when it comes to sewers in Trumbull and their cost to our residents. In summary, Mr. Herbst used a wide brush to criticize several Democrats in Trumbull in the most partisan manner in a verbose and disrespectful way. However, he failed to respond to any of the actual issues that Ms. Mark raised, specifically, the staggering 34% increase in our sewer fees and a $20 million increase in spending in the last four years.

Mr. Herbst even mentioned my name in his rambling statement, and I’d like to thank him for doing so, because it gives me opportunity to respond and let everyone know exactly what my voting record is on the Board of Education. I’ve been criticizing the oppressive pay-to-participate fees for sports and other activities and increasing school lunch prices at Trumbull High School for four years. To be clear, I have voted against every increase in the participation fees that has ever come before the Board of Education. Trumbull has the second-highest pay-to-participate fees in the state of Connecticut. That’s a terrible distinction to hold, and I think it stops some children from participating because their families can’t afford it, and don’t want to request a waiver. I also voted against increasing the price of school lunches, which has gone up twice in the last three years. We can't keep passing costs on to parents that should be paid for with tax dollars. That’s a disingenuous way of keeping the mill rate lower and these fees are worse than property taxes because they are not deductible for federal tax purposes.

Mr. Herbst is excellent when it comes to political hyperbole and tossing around sound bites, but the reality is that out-of-pocket costs for Trumbull residents are significantly higher for all Trumbull residents.  Mr. Herbst still needs to explain to Trumbull voters why our sewer use rates are going up by 34%, why our sewer use fees are the highest of any town in Connecticut with over 5,000 users, why our car taxes have gone up by 25% in the last two years, why our mill rate is the highest it’s been since 1989, and why he’s raised spending in Trumbull by $20 million over the past four years. Mr. Herbst also promised on July 23 to release his expense reports and cellphone and text message records so Trumbull residents can see how he spends his time. We are all still waiting for Mr. Herbst to do so.

Tom Kelly, Democratic Board of Finance candidate