Friday, May 14, 2010

My Response to Today's Letters to the Editor in the Spectrum

The ignorance of facts is irksome especially at budget times when some BOE supporters are out in full force attacking those who ask even the simplest questions about its Budget.  “You are anti-education,” they say.   To them, I say, “You lack education.”  And respect.

There was a time when The Spectrum wouldn't print letters that contained errors of fact and there was a time when outrageous comments made to the Town Council during public participation were addressed immediately.  Times have changed.  For the worse.

Ali Bitteker, Letter to the Editor, Spectrum, May 15, 2010:

In no year, 2008 or otherwise, did the Town ever have a 4-5 million dollar deficit. 

On June 30, 2008, the Board of Ed did return $741,000 to the Town but it’s my recollection that the money went into a BOE account that’s used for non-reoccurring capital expenses.  For you newcomers, this account was established in the early 90s at the urging of my friend, Tom Pilla, who was on the Town Council at the time.  The BOE has made use of some of this money, leaving a balance in the account today of approximately $400,000.   Even if the money didn’t go into that account, it had to have been used to offset losses.  What often gets lost in these discussions is that all of this money is taxpayer money s if the money was used to offset losses, everyone benefitted.  I’m sure that Ms. Bitteker genuinely supports the Budget but I think that her letter causes confusion and discourages support for her cause, quite the opposite of what she intended.

Wendy Del Monte, Letter to the Editor, Spectrum, May 15, 2010:

Mayor Murphy reduced the original BOE proposal by $800,000 recognizing that many BOE items were “overstated.”  Thereafter, the Town Council Members, realizing that increasing taxes are an anathema to economic growth, wanted the Administrators and Staff to take a wage freeze.  In these troubled times, when all Town Hall employees are taking a wage freeze, they felt that all Boards and Departments should share the pain.   It is also important to note that Ms. Del Monte, like others, is attempting to mislead the taxpayers by suggesting that the Mayor supports the Budget.  The Mayor has not said that she supports the Budget and a lot has happened since the date she made her original recommendation to the Council.

Jeff Winter, Letter to the Editor, Spectrum, May 15, 2010:

This Jeffrey-come-lately makes frequent visits to Town Hall but is having difficulty with room numbers, if you get my drift.  He’s also trying to sell everyone on how the Town should be run.   He has too much time on his hands.   Mr. Winter would be far more credible and feel less need to be arrogant if he took a few crash courses.  He should start with municipal finance, move on to the Freedom of Information Laws and other relevant State Statutes and then he should read the Town’s Charter and Ordinances both of which are in one volume that former Mayor Bobby Gambino called,”the little thick book.”  

With those under his hat, Mr. Winter will learn, for example, that Section 1-225(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes allows items to be added to the Agenda of any regular meeting by a two-thirds vote, that Budget deliberations are one, continued Meeting and money in any department or line item may be brought up at any Meeting and, finally, that agendas may be revised at any time before they must be posted.  He should have been shut down by a point of order when he was standing before the Council and, out of ignorance, attacked the Members of the Council for doing what the Laws and Ordinances permit.

I don’t know what Mr. Winter has done for a living or if he even has a job but it is the height of arrogance to stand up at a Meeting and say that the taxpayers of New Milford are willing to pay more taxes and ask how our elected officials dare to substitute their judgment for that of the taxpayers.  I challenge him to go house-to-house with that attitude and I recommend that he give advance notice to the Police and Ambulance crew.  There’s a lot of suffering going on out there in the real world.

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