Let’s Get Ready to RUMBLE! (Budget Battles)

24Apr08

In this corner, wearing knapsacks and carrying cell phones, are the Moms and schoolkids. In the other corner, wearing reading glasses and carry SSI stubs, are the Seniors.

Round 1 goes to the Moms with a right to the pocketbook with a nasty “it’s for the children!” . The Seniors were on the ropes at the end of the round.

Budget plans for Stratford spark protest
AARON LEO
Article Last Updated: 04/23/2008 12:06:52 AM EDT

STRATFORD — About 30 people, from seniors to sixth-graders, turned out at Stratford High School to ask the Town Council and Mayor James R. Miron to fully fund the library and the school district Tuesday night.nder the proposed 2008-09 budget of $175.5 million — an increase of 2.25 percent from this year’s — the tax rate would rise to 30.87 mills, or a $139 increase on a house assessed at $185,000.But Miron’s proposed budget also trims $1.1 million from the district’s proposed $89 million spending plan, threatening creation of new classes and expansion of current ones, said Supt. of School Irene Cornish.The potential cut brought out school parents, teachers, sixth-graders and former students who also use the town library, and say the two go hand-in-hand.”The library provides a quiet place,” said Becky Simon. “From the library I have learned so much and read so many books.”Her classmate, 11-year-old Emma Sullivan, also has fond memories of the library.”I’ve been using the library since I was in diapers,” she said.She couldn’t get her first library card until she learned to write her name, She added she learned handwriting quickly after that.Oleg Cusnir, who recently moved here from the Republic of Moldova, uses the library as well as his children, ages 6 and 4 years old and one 16 months.”I find many resources,” he said.He researches jobs and takes English courses, he added.”I couldn’t do all these things without this help.”The library and the school system, the main issues for all the speakers, go hand-in-hand with property values, residents said.”The better the education system, the better the property values,” said Orna Rawls.Investing in the schools pays off, but sometimes it takes a while to see the results, said Chuck Lindberg.However, “You can’t see that investment pay off any better,” he said after the Stratford Academy students spoke.The school district has always spent its money responsibly, he added.

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14 Responses to “Let’s Get Ready to RUMBLE! (Budget Battles)”

  1. 1 1george1

    I did not attend the Tuesday Budget Hearing at S.H.S., but did so at
    Wooster on Wednesday.
    Tuesday had 30 speakers.
    Wednesday had “maybe” 20 speakers, with about 45 people in the audience.
    (A couple reporters & workers, plus a late group. (who probably spoke Tues?)

    I feel we can have lower Taxes AND improved Education AND Services.
    I believe Stratford people have paid 20 to 30 percent extra per year, for
    the last 20 + years.
    I applied to be, and was appointed as an alternate, to the Financial Review
    Commission, of the Town Council.

    The Mayor did not seem to appreciate my remark that such a low increase
    on the Town side appeared to me, to indicate his 12 % request for increase
    in his first year and other factors made it look like the BUDGET has been
    inflated for years, and there may have been a SLUSH FUND.
    > I did tell him after that his low BUDGET this year was a step in the right
    direction and that I do try to compliment when appropriate (as a way to
    keep YOU off balance). 8)

    I favor having LATIN (needed to be a Doctor/Lawyer/Teacher of English) in
    the curiculum, AS WELL AS, Mandarin Chinese (proposed by Jim M = economics)
    and that there could be GRANTS to pay for doing that.

    If increased GRANTS (especially ECS) pay for the entire Board of Ed increase,
    then, if there is a reduction to ZERO (or negative Town side Budget) then
    there is NO justification for ANY TAX increase. I believe it can be done.

    I spoke to Gavin after, thanking him for the extra 30 seconds for me to be
    allowed to point out LATIN needed = MD = ESQ.
    Also for mentioning it cost $ 10 k a year & still too much to educate a child,
    however that is PREFERABLE to the $ 50,000 a year to JAIL a person and that
    1 in 32 Americans are in PRISON/JAIL and 1 in 10 Americans are: in JAIL/PRISON,
    on PAROLE, or within the observed SYSTEM.

    I teased GAVIN that I have a small ZOO of PLASTIC DONKEYS and ELEPHANTS,
    IF the TOWN COUNCIL would do LIVE / REAL TIME WEB CAST.
    GAVIN surprized me that SOUNDVIEW is working on LIVE / REAL TIME CH # 79
    BROAD CAST.
    Hmmm.
    Later I realized, I do not get CH # 79 with my new Satellite TV and neither
    does much of Stratford, including NONE of Oronoque Village.
    I guess I still favor WEB CAST.

    I hate to make Mayor Miron aware of that, since WEB CAST “might help him
    get re-elected” 😦 if the economics do improve? 8)

    Hmmmm?

  2. 2 sudds

    George… OF COURSE taxes aren’t going to go up much… we’re in the second half of Miron’s term!!! Since he think (LOL) that he can get elected again…

    wait a minute (sadly) maybe this isn’t so laughable if Best/Costello split the voate again)…

    I’d bet that there is NO tax increase next year!!!

    It’s called poli-sci 101 Mr. Mayor… please don’t think that we’re dumb enough to “drink the Kool-Aid”!!!

  3. 3 pcsperling

    Sudds ~

    Where ya’ been…. keepin’ a low profile?

    I’m sincerely hoping that the candidate pool isn’t watered down again so that Miron is able to get re-elected with a minority of the votes cast. I’m doubting though that he’s got the following and support he had in the 2005 election. While he’s got some die-hards in his corner (Bonnie Reynolds, Laura Dobosz, Ashley Haydu, Heather Habelka, Amy Wanamaker and Margo, to know a few of the those of the female persuasion, and then there’s Rich Buturla, Alvin O’Neil and Kent Miller), it probably won’t be enough to promise re-election.

    I agree with George. The budgets have probably been severely inflated for years, and we’ve been just going along, drinking the kool-aid. It’s seriously time for a change and something to be done to get rid of the giant slush fund.

  4. 4 sudds

    So… the blog-chickies missed me, huh? Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!! :o}

    Sorry… but can you believe that “these people” actually have the nerve to request that I sometimes do work between 9 and 5!?!?!?! What is this world coming to???

  5. 5 jezebel282

    Blog-chickies?

  6. 6 sudds

    LOL… I figured you’d say something about that one!!! I’m just teasin’… I would never disrespect my favorite mayoral-candidate-to-be!!!

  7. 7 gforrester

    I would just like to point out that each budget that was submitted by the Mayor was reduced by the Council the last two years – and low and behold – they were balanced.

  8. 8 1george1

    Gavin,
    Would a reasonable person expect that ANY Budget presented by the Town
    or Board of Ed managements, have an expectations of cushion, expected to
    be cut?

    No one pays full price for a new car?

    Any Town Council (no offense) legislative group, need to “appear” diligent in
    finding ways to cut spending?
    (not saying anyone is not dilligent, however, I did write & blog that I believe
    the Tax Payers are over taxed by 20 – 30 % each year.
    > Getting those out of the Budget will be…….
    > Increasing Revenues can be ……

    I missed Tom & Joe at the Budget Hearing, especially after I e-mailed them,
    Gavin, and Carol about the F. R. C.
    I hope they are not having second thoughts, on my appointment? 😉
    I thought I was comparatively subdued in my presentation, and only
    embellished my outline handout with some memorized specifics.

    The Board of Ed people seemed to feel I supported them (mostly do).
    I think there is significant room for cuts and new revenue sources,
    which can reduce or eliminate a Mil rate increase to dare I suggest… 🙂

  9. 9 1george1

    I forgot to copy Gavin’s note about Budget Workshops.
    Carol did not get back to my afternoon e-mail or call?

    The very low Budget Hearing turnout, does not bode well
    for the anti-mirons, in my opinion.

  10. 10 freedomofspeach

    1george1 this may get you going.

    Is Stratford next? If they find that the books (that meet FASB) are well off a little, could this happen there? Is Stratford in a similar situation?

    W. Haven shocked to learn state may take over finances
    Letter to council cites ‘cash flow crisis’, late audit

    http://www.nhregister.com/WebApp/appmanager/JRC/BigDaily;jsessionid=tncpLYvXNTFmBhH00nh1D9yJXRgNpDw1zGG4JSVTLqtQ3yvy40pS!1202544058?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FNHR%2FHome&r21.content=%2FNHR%2FHome%2FTopStoryList_Story_1972609

    Are they going down that road, or are they more financialy sound?

  11. 11 1george1

    Freedom of speach,

    It may surprize you that I tried to warn the unions / partisans about
    the PENSIONS being rejected predicated on >
    > Enron
    > United Airlines
    > K-Mart
    > others

    I have ALWAYS believed the DOUBLE CROSS was planned by the DICKS,
    B UTTER NUTS, & others
    (Dicks = Mirons / Burturlas = Berchem)
    (B UTTER NUTS = Butternut lane = Norm, Camillo, O’Connell, Burturla,
    B Cabral/DeCilio, Hoydic, et al)

    I understand Tuesday’s CT POST had an editorial comparing Shelton
    & Stratford.
    Shelton has 80 % of the population of Stratford, with less than 50 %
    of the Taxes, and better Education spending.

    Shelton has had SCINTO building 10-20 story Office towers = property
    Tax Base.

    Shelton has a Volunteer Fire Dept. I favor professionals, with caps.

    Shelton / Fairfield have CAPS on PENSIONS vs 30 Years & BASE PAY,
    which max out at 30 – 40 % of BASE.
    Stratford has NO PENSION CAP, and has been abused, with the TOP
    PENSION over $ 49,000 more than the $ 84,000 Base Pay.

    Freedom of Speach,

    Is there such a thing as a free lunch?
    I favor good pay, good benefits, good pensions.
    If the unions / politicians kept pensions and $ 25 – 30,000 and did not add
    golden parachutes and everyone’s relatives to the Defined Benefit Plan,
    then the plan would be solvent.

    If the PENSIONS go to $ 10,000 a year and if some have to PAY BACK….
    NOT my ISSUE, NOT my PROBLEM, NOT my SUGGESTION or SOLUTION >

    FACT > K-mart employees each got $ 100 PENSION = Total

    FACT > United Airlines AESOP union stock holders got FRACTION of a PENNY
    per SHARE of STOCK, per BANKRUPTCY.

    FREEDOM,
    The average of 10 pensions in JANUARY was $ 84,000 +
    2007 average pension was $ 42,000 +
    2000s average pension was $ 28 – $ 34,000
    2 periods of 3 years each in 1990s average pension was $ 16 – $ 18,000

    The 1998 PENSION BOND of $ 95,000,000 was predicated on the PAST or
    the FUTURE (abused?)

    Joe Crudo’s Town Council (close friend of Norm) turned pension obligation
    from the PENSION to REPAY itself, over to the Taxpayers.
    Immediately 61 people retired.
    Average numbers of annual retirees are / were in 20s.

    A stunning 18 % of the BUDGET (not collected taxes, which was about 25%)
    was going from the Business and Resident Tax Payers to the Pensioners.

    Then, thanks to Re-evaluation (KITED) the percent went down, although
    the PENSION started going back up, after 1 – 2 years, after golden parachute.

    I note that at the State level there are pending laws concerning LOSS of
    PENSION related to corruption.

    I am simply glad Stratford has NO CORRUPTION, ergo NO PENSION are in any
    DANGER? 😉

    Last point > I am pro union.
    I have NEVER been in favor of BAD DEALS for anyone or firing anyone,
    my positions fall in line with attrition and proper staffing.
    I favor professional police & fire over volunteers.
    I favor the PW excellent basket of services.
    Most of the highest pensions are managment and not real union people.

    The younger police, fire, pw, town hall, are getting the shaft.
    Weisel wrote that I said that several months ago, so I am on record,
    and my role in the Pension issue is key but trying to protect people’s
    legitimate issues.
    The younger workers know exactly what is going on and who is involved.
    Nationwide there are senior citizens & tax payers rebelling.
    I tried to warn people towards moderation.
    No good deed goes unpunished!

  12. 12 jezebel282

    Now why would it be important for Miron to contact the BOE over a measly $1 MILLION? Oh right! Ben Branyan is the Chief Operating Officer…the guy Miron fired.

    You read it in the Post (Never in the Star)

    Council considers proposed ed cuts
    RICHARD WEIZEL
    Article Last Updated: 05/06/2008 12:36:54 AM EDT

    STRATFORD — The Town Council grilled Supt. of Schools Irene Cornish and other school officials Monday on why it should restore any or all of Mayor James R. Miron’s $1.1 million cut to the school board’s proposed $89 million budget.

    Under the mayor’s overall proposed 2008-09 budget of $175.5 million, an increase of 2.25 percent from this year’s, the tax rate would rise to 30.87 mills, or a $139 tax increase on a house assessed at $185,000.

    But Miron’s proposed budget trims $1.1 million from the school district’s proposed $89 million spending plan, threatening creation of new classes and expansion of current ones, as well as “impeding the progress we have made the last few years,” said Cornish. She said the school board needs its requested 5.93 percent increase to “meet increasingly stringent” federal guidelines mandated in the “No Child Left Behind” legislation.

    Miron’s proposal would mean an education budget increase of 4.65 percent above the current year, but for the second year in a row would be substantially lower than the school board request.

    The potential reduction last week drew parents, teachers, students and even senior citizens to two budget hearings, where they made a plea for the council to restore the mayor’s cuts.

    “Even if we eliminated all the new programs and additional teachers in the budget we would still only be down to a $5.2 percent increase and would need to cut $400,000 more from the budget to reduce it to the numbers the mayor is recommending,” Cornish told the council.

    However, Cornish did have some good news for the council, advising members she was informed Monday that a new in-school suspension program mandated by — but not paid for by the state — will not go into effect until July 2009 instead of this summer, as originally planned. The new program would have required four additional tutors at a cost of $110,000 to the school district in the upcoming budget.

    Some council leaders suggested eliminating the proposed $420,000 in the school board’s contingency account to reduce costs and save programs. “I believe by taking out funds for the contingency account you could cover some other programs you consider vital,” said Town Council Minority Leader Alvin O’Neal, D-2. “If these programs are that important to the children of Stratford, the contingency account could be used to cover the costs.” Council Majority Leader Michael Henrick, R-10, agreed.

    “I know it can be kind of scary to go into a budget year without a contingency account, but I would like to see you [school administrators] eliminate it to free those funds up for programs that directly benefit students,” he said. Councilman Gavin Forrester, D-3, asked Cornish what contact the mayor or his administration had had with the school board or administrators regarding the board’s proposed budget before he made his recommended cuts. “None. No contact at all,” Cornish said.

    “Do you have any idea why that was the case?” Forrester asked.

    “I have no idea,” Cornish said. “You’ll have to ask him.”

    The council will question the mayor and his staff in the near future about the municipal budget, and must approve a final budget by the end of the month

  13. 13 1george1

    May be the Mayor is using a psychic medium, in projecting Board of Ed cuts?

    May be if we had a Town Attorney with Political Pull, like representing 33 CT.
    Boards of Education, and was capable of “working for the peoples’ benefit,”
    then
    1. Federal MANDATES would be PAID.
    2. CT MANDATES would be PAID.
    3. PAST unpaid Federal & State MANDATES would be PAID.

    Wait, how could ANY ATTORNEY go to a COURT to DEMAND writs of MANDAMUS,
    for the FEDS & STATE to pay M A N D A T E S ?
    And PAY, unpaid M A N D A T E S?

  14. 14 mikereynolds

    I’m on the Mayor’s side as far as the budget cuts to the BOE. But no communication between the Mayor’s office and the department that spends the most of the town’s money sounds irresponsible.

    Did our Mayor/King think he could sit on his throne, make a decree about how much the BOE would get, and that would be it? How about a little two-way communication? There is obviously no love lost between our Mayor/King and Mrs. Cornish.


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