Letter: Is Trumbull headed in the wrong direction?

To the Editor:

Trumbull is going in the wrong direction in a lot of areas critical to the way we define the community’s quality of life.

Consider taxes, because that’s where it starts for a lot of people.

• In 2012, residential real estate values declined by 20 percent in a revaluation. And yet, taxes for residential homeowners decreased only slightly, and commercial taxes increased. When your home loses 20 percent of its value, but your taxes don’t decline commensurately, that’s a tax increase.

• In October 2015, when the next revaluation is scheduled, you’re almost certainly going to get hit with a tax increase, simply because the value of your house increases from 2011. If you got a break in 2012 because of the decline in your home value, you’ll likely be paying for that break next year.

Meanwhile, municipal fees and non-real estate taxes are skyrocketing.

• Car taxes have increased by more than 20 percent.

• Sewer-use fees increased by more than 30 percent. Trumbull has the highest sewer-use fees of any comparable town in the state. Just a few weeks ago, St. Joseph’s High School got hit with a $12,000 quarterly sewer-use fee. The Water Pollution Control Authority rejected a request for relief.

• Just recently, the Parks Commission imposed a $5-per-car parks use fee.

• Pay-to-participate fees in the school system are among the highest in the state.

Trumbull taxpayers are getting nickeled-and-dimed to death. Adding insult to injury, our government treats its own citizens like adversaries.

• The town recently placed tax liens on nearly 2,000 Trumbull homes for unpaid sewer use bills of as little as $5.00. That’s one home in five-20 percent-of the homes in town with sewers. Want to know how those liens affect you? Here’s what the credit-reporting company Experian says: “Tax liens are considered very negative and can remain on your credit report longer than any other item. Unpaid tax liens remain part of your credit report for 15 years, and paid tax liens remain for seven years.”

• The town has collected more than $11,000 in fines for an alarm ordinance that was rolled out in a less-than-effective way. Most people didn’t know about it, obviously. The government seems to be using residents as a revenue source.

The spirit of community that once defined Trumbull is declining. The Trumbull Day Commission went onto social media pleading for participants. The Arts Commission might be disbanded. Democratic Party nominees who volunteer for boards and commissions end up rejected or ignored. Community festivals and events could be so much more.

Meanwhile, the first selectman, Tim Herbst, is looking for his next opportunity. He’s running for state treasurer.

Trumbull once was a town where residents were happy to come home after work, knowing there was a rich community life to enjoy, and its government was a force for making life easier and better. Trumbull needs a renewed sense of community spirit. I don’t believe we’re doomed to be a town that’s coming apart instead of coming together.

Tony Silber