You Must Remember This

13May14
Mayor Deals With Taxpayer

Mayor Deals With Taxpayer

Stratford increases spending 6% overall, 2.5% for schools.
By Greg Reilly on May 12, 2014

“The Stratford Town Council at its monthly meeting on May 12 adopted a 2015 operating budget that increases overall spending 6%, increases the mill (tax) rate 2.8%, and increases spending for schools 2.5%.
The approved overall expense budget of $204,231,075 is $48,465 more than Mayor John Harkins has proposed”
http://www.stratfordstar.com/21153/stratford-increases-spending-6-overall-2-5-for-schools/

Never mind that funding Town-wide obligations with the sewer use fees is illegal. Never mind that no one has received the kind of raises that Town non-union employees will get. Never mind that no cost cutting measures were even proposed. Never mind that the BOE budget is unreadable. Never mind that property values have decreased. Never mind that the Grand List is flat with no plan to increase it. The Council, to absolutely no one’s surprise, has given Harkins even more than he asked for.

While some homeowners will grumble, take out their checkbooks and just write the check in July, others particularly seniors and working families will feel real pain.

Council elections are a full 18 months away. But you must remember this; The Republican Council voted for these outrageous increases without the slightest objection.

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21 Responses to “You Must Remember This”

  1. 1 1cyclops

    Jezebel,

    Was the vote unanimous?

  2. 2 Rockannand

    Love the picture!! Yes the fix was in, but there are objections and then there are objections.

  3. 3 jezebel282

    Cyclops,

    “Voting in favor were Democrat Stephanie Philips, Republicans Peter Massey, Joe Kubic, Ken Poisson, Craig Budnick, Jim Connor, and Paul Hoydick. Voting “no” on the new budget were Democrat Jason Santi and Republican Brian Dempsey. Councilman Matt Catalano, a Republican, was absent.” http://www.stratfordstar.com/21153/stratford-increases-spending-6-overall-2-5-for-schools/

    The only surprise here is Dempsey & Santi.

  4. 4 jezebel282

    Update:

    Even more disturbing was another article in the Star.

    “This year at the end of April there were 318 single family homes on the market;” http://www.stratfordstar.com/21141/stratford-home-sales-level-off-in-first-four-months-of-2014/

    318 homes is an astounding and depressing number.

  5. 5 1cyclops

    I guess we have been sent a message by our elected representatives…”go to hell and pay up.”

  6. 6 jezebel282

    Cyclops,

    Pretty much.

  7. WAY to go Dempsey!!!

  8. OMG Reilly wrote that??? Finally! WAY TO GO GREG!

  9. 9 Rockannand

    IN response to Facebook post on the Stratford Schools Parent page, Craig Budnick gave a measured and (IMHO) thoughtful response to Tina’s post about the vote and its implication for BOE and support for parents:

    BUdnick: “The above information is not factually correct. I will not engage in a Facebook debate that is based on information that is incorrect. To suggest that I “voted AGAINST your children” and my own children who are a part of the same school system is simply not true. What is accurate is that the original request from the Superintendent was not the same from the BOE, which was also different from the Mayor’s proposed budget. What is TRUE is that several council members INCLUDING myself worked towards a better compromise. What is also true is that the plans for the money requested changed over the course of the last few weeks. We all enjoy big headlines which the above does accomplish….but the truth is that a vote for the budget was NOT a vote against the schools. I have a great amount of respect for Mr. Santi, but the truth is also that his “NO” vote was not simply based on the reduced funding for the schools….there was much more to his vote that I am sure he would be happy to respond to. As for Mr. Dempsey….I can not speak for him and do not have the slightest idea what his NO vote was based on. I will always be more than happy to correct any misinformation that has made its way to the public domain. Please keep in mind while I have children in the Stratford Schools, that I also represent many people who do not. There were plenty of opinions I received that thought everyone should be FLAT funded with no increases. This budget while far from perfect represented the best efforts of the Mayor and 10 Councilpersons to do what was best for all 52,000 residents and I stand by my vote.”

    I appreciate it when public officials come on line into social media and explain themselves. It helps the debate.

  10. 10 jezebel282

    Rock,

    What would be nice is if you can get an elected official to provide one or two details. The above paragraph was a response, but it was a lot of words to explain nothing at all.

    There cannot be a vote for or against the BOE budget because the BOE budget is incomprehensible. The numbers in the BOE budget, at least the one that was made available to the public, are meaningless. Is there a secret budget somewhere?

    It would also be nice if Mr. Budnick explained how he is not liable for authorizing illegal expenses for the WPCA. Specifically in violation of Town code http://www.ecode360.com/8176131 and State statute http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/pub/chap103.htm#Sec7-267.htm. Perhaps why any Council person would feel political appointees are underpaid?

  11. 11 1cyclops

    It must be a satisfying pleasure to be able to be non-transparent with the people who pay the bills and not have to answer for it. I don’t know how
    the mayor and his associates are able to sleep at night.

  12. 12 jezebel282

    Cyclops,

    “the mayor and his associates are able to sleep at night.”

    Maybe Miron left a tutorial? I feel that if they actually told us what they are doing with our money they would need police protection. Or maybe police custody?

    Let me make a point here. We pay for a lot more than we get. It always occurs to me what else could be done with the money we pay that would actually benefit residents and businesses? An extra $20,000 here, $8,000 there, $15,000 over there…pretty soon you are talking about another teacher, social worker, driver for senior citizens, better lighting for businesses or so many other things than just enriching a few.

  13. I’d like to address a concern that was posited but not responded to. Many of us cannot get to New York as we are being denied railroad parking. Many years ago there was a large budget to build a parking garage-$50 million maybe – that disappeared. There is a six year waiting list for permit parking and I have heard people having to wait eight years!

    Now, Mayor Harkins has given 20-25 NY side parking spaces to his friends at the on premises restaurant/bar. That facility was there for over 25 years with no parking -now he not only gives it away – he stole it from Handicap parking. That’s right. Handicap parking was moved to regular permit parking.

    I guess the elderly and disabled are not the Mayor’s priorities. Nor are the hard working people -trying to get to New York to pay their inflated taxes.

    To add insult to injury, if you park in a “restaurant” spot – you will get a $25 ticket or get towed – all day – every day. If you stop your car to buy a train ticket – you will also get a $25 ticket.

    It gets worse. Now, the New York side permit parking has been moved to Church & Linden Streets (until further notice) and 100 residents who had been parking there – because there was NO PERMIT PARKING – are displaced. Never mind the other Stratford residents who may want to go to New York for entertainment reasons or to visit. If they park on the streets near the train station in what is FREE parking – they will be ticketed and towed.

    This dilemma was raised at the public forum with NO RESPONSE.

    Mayor Harkins is using Stratford property as his personal playground. Where are all the parking fees & fines going? No answer. No accounting. We have a security officer writing tickets for the restaurant as well as the entire railroad station – on our payroll.

    Mayor Harkins is bankrupting our town and turning it into a Nazi state – where the residents have no power and no say in how their town is run.

    Thank you for listening.

  14. 14 1cyclops

    Imageville, Wow! Thank you for alerting us to this horrible & incredible situation. Have we become New Haven? Hartford? Bridgeport? WOW!

  15. Worse, 1cyclops! They all have parking garages & no disabled people get fined or towed for stopping to buy a train ticket. We are a Nazi ruled town and I don’t say this lightly. Remember back in the day when Stratford was a friendly town? Who will buy our homes if they can’t use Metro North?

  16. 16 Rockannand

    No 1cyclops, we are Stratford. We have no lower lifes in govt compared to those towns.

  17. 17 jezebel282

    Image,

    Sadly, the Town has jerked around commuters for a decade now. Not for the commuters lack of trying. Just ask Pat Sperling. It’s not like there isn’t a giant unused parking lot just feet away from Daily Parking.

  18. OMG! We definitely have a rocket scientist working for the Town of Stratford – especially in the Railroad Department! What was once a uncomplicated thing – parking permits (albeit with an 8 year plus wait list) – has now turned into a SNAFU, and we all know what that stands for. I am beyond happy that I’m not a commuter or need parking anymore! There are “NHB1” permits, “NHB2” permits, “LCB,” permits, “K” permits and who knows whatever other permit designations have been made. Street parking has been taken away on Linden and Church Streets and made Railroad “permit only” parking, and if you are an “LCB” permit-holder, you are required to park on Linden and Church Streets because, if you park in a NHB1 or NHB2 lot, you WILL be ticketed. Commuters are obviously shaking their heads wondering WTF! And all you Stratford taxpaying residents, take a look at the budget and see what they want to pay this “rocket scientist”! Oh, and what ever happened to that garage (and the grant money that was obtained) that was promised back the early 2000s?

  19. 19 jezebel282

    Update:

    “Shelton saw an additional 1,372 new residents move into the city, swelling to 40,999 in 2013, from 39,617 in 2010. That 3.5 percent increase is the second largest in the state.” http://www.ctpost.com/default/article/Bridgeport-Shelton-populations-growing-5496528.php

    And Stratford? Not so much…

    “Seven Fairfield County towns were among the top 10 most rapidly growing municipalities in the state over that time: Shelton was No. 2, growing by 3.5 percent; Bethel was No. 5, growing by 3.4 percent; Westport was at No. 6, growing by 3.3 percent; Wilton was No. 7, growing at 3.2 percent; Stamford was No. 8, growing at 3.0 percent; Danbury was No. 9, growing at 2.9 percent; and Darien was No. 10, growing at 2.7 percent.” Nary a mention of Stratford. http://blog.ctnews.com/trending/2014/05/22/census-populations-growing-in-all-fairfield-county-towns/#23576101=0

    It could be worse. We could be ranked by school system where we come in at 229th out of 293 in Connecticut. http://www.usa.com/stratford-ct.htm

  20. Jez ~

    A sentence from the link you posted: “On average, the public school district that covers Stratford is worse than the state average in quality.”

    Of course it’s worse than the state average – it’s a long standing “custom” that they worry more about the salary increases and paychecks then they do of our children! My daughter is 10, and I was watching things like this long before she was even both. These newbie parents don’t get that since they only started looking into things like that when they had kids. They could care less about a salary freeze, just pump that money out!

    We cannot compare ourselves to the salaries of other towns, nor can you say the salaries are dictated by the degrees they hold. These are municipal – not corporate – positions.

  21. 21 jezebel282

    PCS,

    I must admit that I was a bit taken aback when the news came out that Harkins & his Council were cutting the BOE budget and parents were screaming. I could not figure out what they could be screaming about. The BOE budget is incomprehensible. No parent has been able to indicate a single program or resource that was being cut. Mostly because none of the numbers made any sense at all and no parent had actually read it.

    We elect seven members of a Board of Education (http://stratfordk12.org/Content/Members_1.asp). What is it that they do? They certainly don’t produce an understandable budget. Do they even attend meetings? It doesn’t seem likely given this result.


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