Stratford Doldrums

22Jul14
Opposition Forces

Opposition Forces

Budget season is over. Everyone in Town Hall and at the BOE are happy. Well, OK, not so happy if you’re a union member. But nonetheless all the non-union employees are happy. Soon the Council and WPCA (Sewer Plant) will negotiate a $5.2 million sale of Town property. Yes, we know. The WPCA and Town Council are the same people. But we are sure they will negotiate with themselves and come up with a fair amount to steal from taxpayers.

Of course the BOE remains somewhat of a mystery since they have yet to publish an approved budget. We suppose the Superintendent and Board of Education members feel that we have no business knowing how they are spending $97 MILLION of our money allocated by the Republican controlled Council. Maybe they are right? After all, it did not delay for a moment the mailing of tax bills nor did it extend the deadline to pay. The mayor’s opinion is “Just pay it. We’ll tell you later how we spent it…maybe.”

Is anyone protesting any of this? Extracting funds from the WPCA is clearly illegal according to State statute. Has the Attorney General’s office jumped on this? They have certainly been made aware of it. Nope. Not a word. Has anyone on the Council been struck by a stray ethical consideration? Apparently not. Surely the elected Board of Education members are aware that not a single taxpayer has any idea what is happening to nearly half of our yearly tax burden? Who knows?

Who’s fault is all of this? The answer is simple. It is our own fault. We choose to not vote. We choose to ignore budget debates. We choose to drive by Town Hall on our way to shop or desperately hunt for a legal parking space. We choose to skip over anything related to municipal government or education. So as you write your checks this month and place them in the blue envelopes remember that is our own fault that these bills are among the highest in Connecticut.

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15 Responses to “Stratford Doldrums”

  1. 1 stfdprofessor1

    The heck with the brooklyn bridge, we need to fly two white flags of surrender over the Moses Wheeler bridge as the residents of Stratford have surrendered to corruption and incompetance as well.

  2. 2 jezebel282

    Prof,

    I fear that you are correct. Stratford is, comparatively speaking, a small town. The population has hovered around 50,000 for decades. On its face, we know that for many, many years there have been no major improvements in this town, no indications of educational success, no major industries relocating here or really nothing very different at all. What we do notice is that every single year (except for a mayoral election year) our taxes rise significantly and the Town has more and more highly paid employees.

    What’s worse is that every time we pay an exorbitantly high salary to some administrator like say, a registrar of voters or an economic development director, the other Town employees feel that they deserve an equally outrageous raise as well. And they get it. And it is always at the expense of the taxpayer.

    In other instances, our taxes rise for past sins like underfunding pensions while continuing to allow abuses to the plans like bulking up overtime for the last two years employment. In the end, taxpayers are digging deeper to pay for retirees to sit on their front porch in North Carolina while we work overtime to cover it.

    Sadly, most Stratford citizens remain purposely unaware of any of this. The attitude seems to be that all of this is somehow necessary and someone is working in good faith on behalf of Stratford residents and businesses. This could not be further from the truth. Let me reiterate this last point for you in case I was unclear. NO ONE IS WORKING ON YOUR BEHALF. NO ONE.

    Unless and until taxpayers pay attention to how their money is spent nothing will change. Ever.

  3. 3 stfdprofessor1

    …and the silence is truly deafening.

  4. 4 jezebel282

    I’m most surprised at the parents. We have absolutely no idea how any of our money is spent at the BOE. Will they just kiss their kids goodbye and hope there are teachers there in September?

  5. 5 Rockannand

    Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the closet, we have this reported today in the Star. I want to see how they talk their way out of this mess. Just like Jackie Gleason in the Honeymooners, ” a humana hamana humana.”
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/26741/big-change-made-to-wpca-budget-without-notifying-members/

  6. 6 jezebel282

    Rock,

    I am not sure what all the fuss is about. We knew that this theft from the WPCA was illegal way back in January. Now they are claiming that they didn’t tell themselves? Remember, the WPCA Board is the Town Council. AYFKM?

    What no one is asking is how the $5.6 million in cash got into the WPCA in the first place. Who requires 50+% of operating expense to be in cash reserve? That’s just crazy. And if it is “required”, how will it get replaced once the mayor steals it?

    It seems to fit into the “whatEVER!” accounting practices of the Town.

    It not the lies that bother us so much. It is the lies that insult us that do.

  7. 7 jezebel282

    Oh…and the BOE doesn’t even think the taxpayers are worthy of insulting. Which is probably why they never published a budget.

  8. 8 jezebel282

    Update:

    “I was equally embarrassed that our Mayor Harkins did not have the courtesy to appear at this gathering. At the least he could have been at the luncheon to receive the gifts, and at best he could have partaken of the many activities designed to show off the attributes of this town.” http://www.stratfordstar.com/26864/missed-opportunities-with-stratfords-reunion/

    Obviously, this event wasn’t nearly as important as opening a pizza restaurant or delicatessen. Harkins is always available for that.

    Yet again, it’s not like Stratford residents and taxpayers are paying attention. The mayor and BOE superintendent can pretty much do whatever they want and not a single taxpayer will say a word about it. Why do we include the superintendent? Simply because the BOE takes over half of our tax money and refuses to tell us how they spend it. No seriously, it’s a secret. Not even elected BOE members have seen an approved budget. Schools reopen next week and no one knows anything about a budget.

    We are letting this mayor overcharge us for sewer usage and use the fees to plug holes in his budget and dole out raises to non-union employees.

    The BOE superintendent? Who knows what she is doing? It’s a mystery. The trouble is that it shouldn’t be a $98 million (Or is it $101 Million?) mystery. These are public funds spent on the children of Stratford residents (well, that’s the theory). We find it astounding that not a single elected member of the Board of Education or even the Town Council has demanded that a BOE budget be published.

    All of us, including Stratford businesses, have kicked in a total of $204 million this year to operate the municipality. Hardly anyone cares how it is done or what it costs. Which is why it always costs more and why we always get less.

  9. 9 stfdprofessor1

    Jeeze things just havent been the same around here since that metrosexual sissypants Chrissy left town. He’d have wet his pants if he were here to see the big sister cities dis Harkins foisted on the Shakespeare crowd. I bet he’d be so upset he’d have to run out and get manscaped to cure his depression.

  10. 10 jezebel282

    “To the Editor:

    If Stratford’s taxpayers don’t have enough heartburn already they should attend the public forum before the regular Council meeting. After all, it’s the only real way to see who’s in charge of spending your hard earned dollars.
    Last week’s public forum at Town Hall was one of the few occasions that I’ve attended, but I’m glad I did. Unfortunately, Mayor John Harkins is never present and many council members walk in late.
    Most frustrating to watch is the rather rude tone set by Joe Kubic (R-9), the presiding chairman. It appears he goes out of his way to make the public unwelcome: He yells out the names of those who have signed up to talk; then ignores them as they talk and sternly enforces the time limit to speak. His indifference and behavior is disturbing to the casual observer.
    The majority of the public commented on the WPCA, the Shakespeare Theater and the Sister Cities reunion. All had one recurring theme: The Council and mayor are poor leaders. The statements pointed to the lack of transparency from the administration and a habit of fast-tracking projects at the expense of public input and procedure (WPCA, Shakespeare, Pirhala field); disregard for fiduciary responsibility (WPCA) or not representing the town at one of its most celebrated times (Stratford Sister Cities).
    Those who raised their voices had good reason to complain and to be heard.
    Some spoke elegantly, in flowery, wispy styles of speech. Others angrily, in a more direct harsh manner. A few even offered excuses for the Council and mayor’s actions, not wanting to believe that they would outright boycott the Shakespeare and international events that took place in their own backyard.
    I have a different take. They know exactly what they’re doing and they don’t care what anybody thinks. Call it politics, a culture of arrogance or absolute power. One thing is for certain, except for Stephanie Philips – who has gone out of her way to advocate for Stratford – many on this Council and Mayor Harkins do not have the public’s best interest at heart. They serve only themselves and place politics before people.

    Adam H. Brill”
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/27365/public-forum-is-a-lesson-in-politics/

    Yeah… what he said.

  11. 11 Rockannand

    Malloy and Blumenthal attend the town’s 375th anniversary parade on Saturday, but no mayor and 7 out of 10 councilmen MIA. Can we have a more dysfunctional group of incompetents ignoring the people? You can’t make this stuff up anymore.

  12. 12 Rockannand

    oh and I’ve heard 5 different explanations for why no-show Harkins skipped the town’s “supposed” biggest event in his 5 years in office.

  13. 13 jezebel282

    Rock,

    Someone was opening a pizza restaurant or nail salon?

  14. 14 Rockannand

    The official reason from Dillon in yesterday’s Star was that he was on a “family” vacation planned many months ago. But i also heard that his wife was spotted in town this past weekend …. hmmmmmmmm. So many excuses. But not real reason other than his misplaced priorities.

  15. 15 jezebel282

    Rock,

    Our own guess is that mayors don’t like to get boo’ed in public. Not being there is a really good way to avoid that.


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