Newtown Republicans Do Listen... To All Newtowners

Regarding large projects… Better known as the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP):

 

Due diligence by Republicans has yielded some fantastic savings as well as opportunities.  We have also been focused on feedback from the community and intently listening to the voters. After collaboration with the Board of Selectman and the Legislative Council, and as a result of feedback from the community, the Board of Finance has reworked the CIP and sent it back to the Legislative Council with the following recommendations:

1)Start the process of funding a new building for Newtown Hook and Ladder Fire Company.

2)Fund the installation of the water line in Sandy Hook Center as well as continue expanding on the streetscape. These two projects will set in motion additional economic development yielding much needed tax revenue.

3)Engage the phone company to repair the telephone poles at Fairfield Hills saving over $700k in the near term.

Not to mention all the other projects that can be viewed at: www.newtown-ct.gov .

 

Your Republican Team has been able to accomplish all this with unprecedented cooperation between boards and political parties.

Did you know Newtown Republicans were able to do this while staying within the debt guidelines in an effort to maintain our good fiscal standing?

 

Regarding this year’s budget…

 

The Board of Finance recommended budget, presented to the Legislative Council, contains a municipal budget increase of 0.15% (a total of $57,115) over last year, and a school budget increase of 1.03% (a total of $679,806) over last year.

 

There has been a great deal of discussion in town about the $2.5 million reduction to the Board of Education budget.  Some are asking the Legislative Council members to restore the entire amount. Did you know at least $1.5 million are savings that do not affect educational programs and better position our district to meet the declining student enrollments? Did you know the proposed reduction still leaves the Board of Education with an increase of $679k over last year?

 

There has been some discussion that the municipal budget did not get an equitable reduction. Did you know the municipal budget, in the current year, was reduced over $800,000 as a result of your Republican First Selectwoman proactively dealing with the loss in revenues?

 

Did you know the Board of Education was asked to share in the reduced revenue losses and the Board of Education Chair told the Board of Finance they would discuss the issue in public?  Did you know only the Republican members of the Board of Education voted to discuss the issue?

 

Republicans have been scouring the budget for more cost effective operational options:

•Self-Insurance for both the School & Town - Saving close to $1 million

•Combining School & Town Health Insurance Representatives - Saving more than $70k

•Renegotiation of Electricity Contracts - Saving more than $120k

•Renegotiation of Fuel Contracts - Saving more than $100k.

•Early Teacher Retirement - could save up to $300k

•Combining School & Town Overhead Operations - could save more than $100k

•Reorganizing Elementary School - could save up to $300k

 

Our goal is to bring taxpayers the most cost-effective budget possible.

 

Here are some facts that you might find interesting:

1)While 30% of teachers are making less than last year, 70% are making more.

How many people are making more than last year?

2)There is no policy in our school system establishing appropriate class size and therefore class sizes are inconsistent.

3)There is no policy in our school systems on allocation of staff and resources to serve the students equally.

 

Did you know last year the result of the Board of Finance reductions was a 0.5 physical education teacher after the administration claimed that the Board of Finance’s reductions could lead to cutting 80 teachers?

Did you know the school enrollment has decreased to levels that were last seen in 2003? 

Did you know the school budget has increased 36% since 2003?

Did you know more than 87% of Newtown’s school budget is made up of salaries?

 

There have been requests to circumvent both the Board of Finance and Legislative Council and “let the public vote” on the board-adopted budgets.  How does that best serve the taxpayers?  Like our state and federal governments, Newtown’s government is a representative form with a system of checks and balances described in our charter.  Our government, which was created by the voters, empowers our elected officials to examine all the requests, come to reasonable conclusions and vote in the best interests of our constituents.

 

Did you know if the Board of Finance did not review the budget, one of our state education grants for

2010-2011 would have been underestimated by at least 25% ($400,000)?

Did you know if the Board of Finance did not question the insurance premiums, they would have been over budgeted by almost one million dollars?

 

There have been requests to use our fund balance, or savings, to offset taxes despite the fact that our financial advisors have warned to the contrary.  Many neighboring towns (Trumbull, Monroe and Redding) have had their credit ratings downgraded because of their reliance on fund balances to offset taxes.  This practice costs taxpayers in those towns millions of dollars every year in excess interest payments.

 

Did you know by spending within our means, Newtown has benefited from over $1.5 million in savings on interest payments this year alone? If not for our prudent financial decisions, this money would have had to be raised through taxation.

 

What do Republicans think?

 

Every elected Newtown Republican believes in education.  We also believe business as usual will not suffice during difficult economic times.  Declining student enrollments must be addressed today.   Only Republicans are talking about ways to reduce cost without negatively impacting services.  Republicans believe giving more money to government does not necessarily improve the quality of services.  Republicans believe only structural changes in the way services are delivered will get us through this economic crisis.  Republicans believe there should be an equitable distribution of resources.  The sky is not falling.  We must work together and redefine our government operations.  We need to rely on the very competent Town employees who are on the ground and closest to the problem.  They will be our best resource in getting through this crisis.