Letter: Vote YES for Charter Revision
To the Editor:
On Election Day, while there are important state and federal offices on the ballot for your consideration, there are also several important questions regarding Charter Revision in Trumbull and I am encouraging my fellow Trumbullites to vote yes in favor of Question 2 and Question 3.
Republicans and Democrats on the Charter Revision unanimously agreed that the revisions to the Town Charter concerning the Town’s pension fund were necessary and appropriate to protect the overall fiscal health of Trumbull. Five years ago, when I took office, our pension fund was funded at only 27%. The bond rating agencies said we were sitting on a ticking time bomb. We took immediate action to fix the problem, short term. We increased pension contributions in the operating budget 106% in five years. We have fully funded the annual required contribution (ARC) for the first time in a generation. This has been accomplished while keeping the tax rate stable. We have negotiated nine labor agreements that have taken new employee hires out of a traditional pension plan, which will long term reduce the Town’s unfunded pension liability. As a result of these actions, Standard and Poors earlier this year upgraded Trumbull’s credit rating to a AA+, one step away from the coveted Triple AAA. The three major financial rating agencies have lauded our approach to fixing the pension fund. This has been the short term solution.
On Tuesday, Trumbull voters will have the ability to cast a ballot to approve a long term solution that will make sure this problem never happens again. The questions before you will guarantee that never again will either party be able to play politics with the pension fund by kicking the can and mortgaging our future. Fully funding the annual required contribution will mean that Trumbull will finally be able to achieve a AAA credit rating. Why is this significant to the Trumbull taxpayer? In the years ahead, schools will have to be renovated, roads will have to be paved and critical infrastructure needs will have to be addressed. The Town will have to borrow money for many of these projects. The higher the credit rating, the lower our interest rate. This will mean savings to all Trumbull taxpayers. There is a reason why these Charter questions have the unanimous support of the Charter Revision Commission, the support of the financial rating agencies, the support of Town Council representatives and the support of our Town employees. These revisions place the good of the Town of
Trumbull ahead of partisan politics. The people who tell you to vote no are putting their party ahead of their Town. So, on Tuesday, I am asking my fellow Trumbullites to join me in voting “YES” for Question 2 and Question 3. At a time when so many politicians kick the can and place an undue burden on future generations, let’s start thinking about the next generation and stop thinking about the next election.
Timothy M. Herbst, First Selectman,
Town of Trumbul