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Greenwich Democrats' Voices

Greenwich's FY22 Budget Does Not Properly Plan for the Future

By Leslie Moriarty, Democratic BET Caucus Chair

 

The Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) has finished its work on the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, approving a spending level of $450 million on a 7 – 6 vote, with the Chair casting a tie-breaking vote for the second year in a row.

       The vote on the budget was along party lines, with the six Republican BET members voting in favor and the six Democratic BET members voting against. The Democratic members believe the budget does not properly plan for the future. It fails to fund significant infrastructure investment needs for our Schools and Town properties and relies too heavily on the Town’s rainy day funds.

       Here are some of the key issues that caused the Democratic BET members to vote against the FY22 Budget:

Julian Curtiss School Renovation Project – For the second year in a row, the design funds were removed from the budget. What is left is $200,000 and a directive to the Board of Education to revise the Educational Specifications to be a smaller project than the Superintendent and Board of Ed believe is necessary. 

Central Middle School engineering study – No funds were approved to conduct a study to assess necessary investment for this building.

Fire Station planning – No funds were approved for preliminary designs to enable professional fire fighters to utilize the Round Hill fire station for improved fire coverage in the northwest segment of Town.

Eastern Greenwich Civic Center – Construction of a new facility is dependent on the Town receiving a substantial private donation.

Climate Change/Sea Level Rise planning – For the second year in a row, no funds were approved to continue studies and planning for the Town’s waterfront and tidal ponds.

Bicycle Study – No funds were approved for a feasibility study for a safe east-west bike route.

Capital Planning – Proposals to enhance the Town’s ability to fund the capital plan by increasing capital funding and lowering annual debt service were rejected.

Emergency Aid to the Town’s most vulnerable residents – Additional funds for the Department of Human Services to provide support were removed from the budget.

Rainy Day Funds – The approved budget uses a significantly higher amount of the Town’s Fund Balance (aka rainy day funds) than in prior years – $21.3 million. Use of fund balance at this level is not likely to be sustainable.

       The FY22 Budget was passed by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) at its May meeting. The RTM does not have the authority to increase funding or add projects; it can only reduce budgets. The Democratic BET members will continue to push for better planning and faster action for our schools, fire coverage, and the many other important issues facing our community.      

DTC Chair: RTC Statement on Capitol Insurrection Does Not Go Far Enough

DTC Chairman Joe Angland responds to the RTC's statement on the insurrection. Click here for more

RAMER: The real facts on the $3 million cut from Education

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Letter to the editor from Jeff Ramer, a Democratic member of the Town’s Board of Estimate and Taxation.

LETTER: Greenwich Schools Should Not be Completely Upended For 31 Cents A Day?

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Letter to the editor from Janet McMahon, Greenwich Public School Parent, Voter, RTM Member and Taxpayer.

Since the Republican Town leadership is telling parents to “stay calm” and “listen to facts,” I’d like to present some facts which haven’t yet been addressed.

DTC CHAIR: We Will All Pay the Price for Republican BET Approach to School Budget

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"The Republicans’ Board of Education budget cuts threaten the quality of public education in this Town," writes DTC Chair Joe Angland. 

Republican and Democratic members of the Board of Estimate and Taxation, recognizing the challenges that the Town and its residents face in these perilous times, agreed that the budget for the coming fiscal year should require no increase in the mill rate. They differed sharply, however, in how they would achieve that result. ...

State Sen. Alex Bergstein | Stamford Advocate | Feb. 1, 2019

Democratic State Senator Alex Bergstein (36th district) reviews the positive public response to her "Community Conversations," contrasting it with the continuing efforts by the CT GOP Party to attack and misrepresent her positions. 

 

In her op-ed, Sen. Bergstein remarks,  "I have many Republican friends who are unaware that their own party chairman, J.R. Romano, made videos and podcasts about me, which are so full of untruths they’re laughable. The reality I’ve experienced working with fellow Republican legislators is exactly the opposite — they are consistently civil and collaborative. So why are official Republican party communications full of malice and misrepresentation?" 

Greenwich Democratic Town Committee | Greenwich Time | Jan. 24, 2019

"The Greenwich Democratic Town Committee (GDTC) was dismayed to learn that the first selectman is waiving town meeting room policies by welcoming a divisive right-wing for-profit media company, America’s Voice News, to hold an event at Town Hall.

That First Selectman Peter Tesei, along with state Rep. Fred Camillo, is legitimizing this promotional stunt by agreeing to make opening remarks is deeply disappointing and does not reflect or respect the diverse and open-minded beliefs of the Greenwich Community."

Mike Warner | Greenwich Time | Jan. 23, 2019

"Confronted with town capital spending requests, budget hawks in the Board of Estimate and Taxation and Representative Town Meeting are fond of asking one question, 'Is this improvement really a “need” for the town? Or is this an improvement that’s just a “nice to have” item? Because our town can’t afford to spend on “Nice to haves.”'

 

This is entirely the wrong question, however..." 

Jonathan Perloe | CT Viewpoints | Jun. 20, 2018

"To all Republican elected officials: 

 

As members of the party whose leader occupies the White House, you have influence that members of the opposition party do not. I am urging you to speak out against President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from parents who are entering the country illegally."

Joanna Swomley, Nerlyn Pierson, Marina Rosin Levine, David Weisbrod & others | Greenwich Free Press | Jun. 8, 2018

"In an Op-Ed piece in the June 7 Greenwich Time, Peter Tesei and Richard DiPreta ask, “What is the Trump agenda in Greenwich”?

These two leaders of the Greenwich Republican party purport not to know what Trumpism is and how it impacts our Town. While this may be feigned ignorance, it is nonetheless useful to answer their question as Indivisible Greenwich attempts to do every day."

Lucy von Brachel | Greenwich Time | May 24, 2018

District 4 leader and RTM member Lucy von Brachel questions whether attempts by some to lower property taxes is serving the Town's longer term interests. 

 

"There is no question that Greenwich has benefited from our fiscal conservativism during uncertain times, but while some argue for tightening our belts one more notch, others of us believe we have reached a tipping point."

Nerlyn Pierson, Andrea Levine, Molly Colombo, Jonathan Perloe | Greenwich Time | Mar. 29, 2018

​As people left the polls on Election Day, I’m sure they took for granted that no matter which voting district they live in their vote would matter, and the candidates who received the most votes in each race would be declared the winner. That’s the way it works for virtually all the 500,000-plus elected officials in the United States, except for one: the president of the United States....

Stephen Fuzesi, Jr. | Hartford Cournant | Feb. 8, 2018

Politicians have long come to Greenwich to search for gold in the deepest pockets on Connecticut’s “gold coast,” but now the town is emerging as a key community in Connecticut politics. It’s about getting out the vote and seeking a voice — one with a growing blueish tint.

John Blankley | Greenwich Free Press | Dec. 29, 2017

In early January a new Board of Estimate and Taxation (the “BET”) will be sworn in – under the effective control of Democrats for the first time ever in our town’s history, as far as we are aware. I thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on this change and set out a couple of hopes and aspirations for our new finance board. I myself have had the honor and pleasure of serving for two terms on the BET and am leaving the board as I continue my exploratory campaign for State Treasurer.

Jonathan Perloe | Greenwich Time | Jun 2, 2017

In “Controversy reignites in Greenwich over Scout plaque” (May 30 news article), First Selectman Peter Tesei called me “very militant and intolerant” for opposing a plaque on town property that honors the Campfire Club of America, an organization that opposes common-sense gun laws. The first selectman inaccurately accused me of belittling the Boy Scouts of Greenwich...

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