So, my Republican counterpart writes in support of yet another deficit-ridden state budget just because his party supports it. Why I am not surprised. Under Rowland and Rell, that’s the road to hell that Connecticut traveled – leaving Connecticut where Governor Malloy found it.
Truth is, the Republican state budget does not balance, pays for today’s costs with tomorrow’s promises and would immediately put the state back into yet another big deficit. That’s not leadership or bipartisanship. It’s politics as usual.
Yes, we all agree that our town deserves better than paying for the mistakes of others by losing our fair share of town and school aid. We all agree that our Town Council’s fiscal prudence, tough decisions and smart management must not be punished by the state. No one has been clearer or stronger in this fight than Mayor Cantor and the Town Council. Unlike the local Republicans, who love to talk, the West Hartford’s Democratic leaders have been in the trenches at the State Capitol actually fighting the fight. And they will be until the Legislature does what’s right for our state and our town.
But for now, make no mistake. Far from saving West Hartford or Connecticut, the Republican state budget dishonestly and irresponsibly repeats all the fiscal errors of the past and leaves our town no less at risk of big executive cuts when it does not balance on day one.
We can and must do better.
Chairman, Democratic Town Committee
To the Editor:
It is such a privilege to serve the Town of West Hartford. As your Mayor and Democratic Town Councilors, all of you – the residents of West Hartford – are our priority. We work hard every day to make West Hartford better.
With Democratic leadership over the past 16 years West Hartford is a thriving, diverse, vibrant and safe community. West Hartford continues to be recognized nationally as a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.
Just as important, our town is recognized for prudent and responsible local Government – this is no more evident than in West Hartford’s AAA bond rating, the top fiscal rating for its credit worthiness. No large, inner ring suburban community in our state or even the country can match our record.
Our residents are engaged and smart. They expect and demand a lot from us.
They deserve honest, thoughtful, respectful, dignified and strong leadership. We aim to lead with these qualities every day.
So in this extraordinarily challenging budget environment, accurate, truthful information and thoughtful decisions are critical. You may have read that the recently passed town budget included no cuts. This is simply not true.
In fact, both the school and town administrations responded to the Governor’s budget by making significant reductions across the board. These reductions totaled over $5 million dollars and included staff positions, supplies and capital projects.
Our priority was to maximize productivity and efficiency while still providing high level education and town services. Our per pupil spending is 128 out of 169 towns. Given our position as one of the best school systems in the country, this relatively low per pupil spending is very strong evidence of how Democratic leadership has been able to maximize the town’s expenditures.
In this uncertain and nerve-racking budget cycle, my Democratic colleagues and I have been prudent, responsible and disciplined. You may also have read that the recently passed town budget gave no consideration to the Governor’s budget with respect to the dramatically cut state aid to West Hartford. This again is simply not true.
In fact, we set aside a $7 million contingency fund in case of reductions to our Education Cost Sharing grant (ECS). Although we are hopeful the State fulfills its obligation to provide the right to a free public education by funding the ECS grant in accordance with their own formula, this contingency fund will help keep our budget in balance.
No question, these are challenging times but we have been through adversity before, such as the financial collapse in 2008 and the October snowstorm. We have made it through by being a team and working together to protect and strengthen our community.
This is no time to be untruthful. This is no time to be partisan and petty. It IS time to be unified to fight for our amazing community of West Hartford.
Mayor Shari Cantor
Deputy Mayor Leon Davidoff
Councilors Beth Kerrigan, Ben Wenograd, Judy Casperson and Dallas Dodge
This is a Reply to Letter to the Editor: “Republican Budget that passed legislature restored funding to West Hartford.”
There’s one big problem with Robert Levine’s comments about the Republican state budget. Once again you have another naysayer who has clearly not read the proposal. Then again, neither did most of the legislators who voted for it.
For all the partisan rhetoric, the reality is, all this proposal does is slap a wad of gum over a large fiscal hole that needs to be repaired not patched. This Republican budget only offers another big state financial deficit because it is so far out of balance. It reminds me of how we got into this fiscal problem to begin with (15 years of Republican fiscal irresponsibility). This proposal is far from rescuing West Hartford, it puts us even more at risk (if approved) every year going forward.
Whether it’s Republicans or Democrats, the last thing we need is another state budget that is hugely out of balance from day one.
Mr. Levine is correct about one thing, that when I ask myself the question “how did our State Representatives and State Senator vote on the budget that passed”. The answer is they all voted against it, this is because they read the proposal, and saw how damaging it is!
Quoting Mr. Levine:
“Our Democratic Mayor and majority town councilors have been saying for months that they have been in frequent contact with all of our State Representatives and that we could be assured that they were going to fight for West Hartford, that they would ensure fair funding levels for our town”. This is true because our local majority leaders have made contingency plans to adjust for possible short falls in state funding, and worst case scenario. It is too bad that our minority representation couldn’t have the forethought to support a contingency plan that keeps West Hartford safe!
To the Editor:
Recently, a reader called the purchase of the 58 acre UCONN property unfair because the public wasn’t involved. The writer, Mr. Madfis, hasn’t tried to understand that a lot of thought went into the decision. As soon as the property was offered to the town there was communication from the residents. Fortunately, for the taxpayers and residents, West Hartford’s professional team started assembling data. These people, under the direction of the Town Manager, studied the property and helped the town’s decision makers.
Leon Davidoff, the Deputy Mayor, is someone who does his homework. His recommendation to offer UCONN a very reasonable price for the property took into account all the cleanup costs with the PCBs as well as other issues such as the removal of buildings.
The site sits in a very strategic location and saying that it needs to be fenced in to protect the public from vagrants using vacant buildings is ridiculous. Scaring people is something we don’t need in West Hartford. I laughed at the idea that the property would become a “harbinger of crime.”
If the Town purchases this property, the residents and the Council would determine, what would be the best plan for the Town and the people in surrounding neighborhoods.
West Hartford, CT
Democratic Headquarters is open! Come join us and support your local candidates for Town Council and Board of Education.
Fundraiser success! Thank you to all that donated and participated.
2017 Kleinman Scholarship Winners:
The following students were selected from our local High Schools (Conard and Hall) after submitting their application to the High School’s Guidance Councilors. Scholarships are awarded based on academics, civic activities, and community involvement.
Scholarship winner are:
From Conard High School; Adam Giroux and Olivia Starr.
From Hall High School; Lani Davidoff
Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all participating students!