The solid financial foundation of a community is a key factor for a town to be considered one of America’s best. We here in Trumbull can take pride in how Trumbull’s financial picture has become considerable brighter over the last 4 years. I am Town Treasurer John Ponzio, and in the Herbst Administration during this time, we have faced many challenges that threatened our financial health and never kicked the can down the street.
The Town’s Pension Plan was grossly underfunded as we took office and we undertook a 3 pronged approach to begin the long road to financial health for our Plan. (1) We increased funding each year so that in the current year we are funding what our actuary recommends for the first time any of us can remember. (2) Any new employees will not enter the Plan and will be eligible for a more corporate-like defined contribution plan and (3) adopted a diversified investment strategy for the fund. This approach which we are committed to maintain will place our Pension Plan on solid footing and insure funds are available to pay retirement benefits.
Another challenge we faced was the increased debt service required as a result of new sewer construction ($52 million) and renovations to Trumbull High School ($66 million) begun under the prior administration. It was now time to pay for all this debt at the same time the economy was in recession. To better deal with this new mountain of debt and given the low interest rate environment, we refinance any existing bonds where possible, persuaded the Wall Street rating agencies to maintain our bond rating in spite of the increased debt burden and pension issues in a terrible economy and reduced capital project funding for unnecessary items like a new pool.
The challenge to increase revenue with minimal tax increases required grand list growth and while the great recession made organic growth difficult, the grand list has increased around 2% over the last few years allowing us to increase services like road paving and full day kindergarten with minimal tax increases.
Other financial challenges we faced included rising insurance and health care costs, reductions in state aid and negotiating new contracts with all town unions. We faced these issues head on (unlike Hartford and Washington) and continue to pursue innovative solutions now and into the future.
I have served on the Board of Finance for 8 years and the Town Council for 2 years. In addition, I was a member of the Golf Commission for 5 years and assisted with Charter Revision. I am also a current member of the Town’s Pension Board. The past 4 years as Treasurer has allowed me to take advantage of this experience in Town Government and assist Tim Herbst in bringing Trumbull back on the road to financial prosperity with minimal tax increases, less government involvement in our lives and good financial management as indicated by Standard & Poors in their most recent review of the Town’s financial condition.
I am seeking reelection to continue this work and serve our community. I ask for your continued support on November 5.
John L. Ponzio
Incumbent Trumbull Town Treasurer