To the Editor:
As I reflect upon my first time through the budget process as a member of the Legislative Council, I cannot help but be impressed by the level of cooperation displayed by the boards of selectmen, education, and finance as well as my fellow council members in achieving what I believe to be very prudent budgets on both the municipal and education sides of the ledger sheet, which I wholeheartedly endorse.
As a member of the last Charter Revision Commission, which is mostly known for its recommendation on “splitting the budget,” I am particularly gratified that the second lesser known recommendation of that commission, that our elected officials start the process early-- and most importantly – collaborate with each other, has been taken to heart. The free flow of information was evident amongst the various elected bodies and their supporting administrations, which permitted open and honest debate.
As I will have three children in the school system this fall, I admittedly have a very vested interest in the school system’s success. However, in scrutinizing the education budget, I found myself quite impressed with Dr. Reed’s demonstration of balancing prudent planning without compromising our children’s education. On the municipal side of the budget, I believe the town remains in a holding pattern. We are maintaining services, but in my opinion only barely, particularly on infrastructure needs, such as road repair. Therefore, it is certainly heartening to see initiatives going forward that will grow our grand list, such as the Hawleyville sewer project and a spate of commercial development around town.
Yes, the fact that homeowners will not see a tax increase this year is a wonderful thing; however, what I believe is more significant is how the budget was constructed this year. This budget is the result of a reengineered process. Hopefully, one that will become self-sustaining and continue to reflect collaboration of all involved, which brings me to my last point.
All of the foregoing is moot without the participation of the most important party to this effort—namely the voter. All is for naught if the voters do not exercise what I believe to be not only a their right, but their duty, to come out and cast their vote. So please join us at the polls on April 22nd and cast your vote—hopefully in favor--of both budgets.
Legislative Council-District 3
24 Washbrook Road, Newtown April 15, 2014