As an MBA and managing director of a mid-sized nonprofit, my professional life largely consists of balancing budgets: minimizing expenses, maximizing revenues, and creating surpluses whenever possible.

Trumbull's current budget, passed by the Republican majority, includes two short-sighted tricks to balance. The first is a $1.8 million withdrawal from the general fund. This is like taking money out of your savings account to pay your bills; eventually (and quickly) anyone will find that this is not a sustainable strategy. The second trick is $1 million in "tipping fees" imposed on garbage haulers (a.k.a. a "garbage tax" passed on to residents).

While town government has every right to impose fees, the garbage tax is actually a screaming bullet — while it's included in the budget, the tax hasn't actually been passed by the current Town Council, so the revenue in the budget necessary to balance isn't being received. Trumbull finds itself on the precipice of a $2.8 million fiscal cliff.

In this dire fiscal situation, who should we choose to lead our town? Only Vicki Tesoro has a track record of proactive thinking about our town budget and proposing solutions that preserve education and public safety.

Tesoro and Democratic elected officials put forward more than $2 million in expense cuts to the current fiscal year budget, including eliminating excessive lawyer and consulting fees and take-home cars for town employees. These common sense solutions were dismissed by the majority party in favor of financial shenanigans.

If elected, Tesoro and her team will work together and across party lines to find more savings where possible and implement strategies to grow the grand list, minimizing tax increases while sustaining our excellent schools and continuing to appropriately resource first responders.

I'm running for Town Council on Vicki's ticket because I can do the math, and I know the math that the current administration has been using is just smoke and mirrors. Please join me in voting Row A on November 7, a vote for fiscal transparency and sanity in Trumbull.
Michael Barker