There are a few people in this town that would have you believe that the current bonding issued over the last 2 years was done to give an artificial tax increase. Some think that all the things we have had to bond for should have been in the operating budget. This may be true under normal circumstances, but these are not normal circumstances and there is still more to be done. Bonding when done in a responsible manner can be the best way to handle large expenses that have been ignored and accumulated over a period of time and as long as they survive the life of the bond, with rates being what they are, are a smart choice for the town and its taxpayers.
For many years Trumbull had a 5 year plan, that every year got taken off the shelf, the dust blown off of it, updated with more wish list items and put back on the shelf. Well here is the reality check. You can only ignore the inevitable for so long. And that is what happened. It was ignored to the point that not only did something have to be done but everything had to be done; hence the bonding.
Had those serving the town in the past not ignored the roads for so long, had te BOE not made other things a priority over technology, had equipment been replaced on a rotating basis before it became dangerous to the employees, we would not be in the situation we are in. Apparently there were different priorities.
We built a new elementary school 10 years ago and a new preschool several years later and then proceeded to ignore the other 5 elementary and 2 middle schools in town ALL in desperate need of upgrades. Instead we did a $66 million renovation of the HS that still looks like a prison and continued to ignore the other schools with no plan in the near future to rectify that situation. Instead it was decided to ram through a phase 4 sewer project without reworking the numbers and making sure that it could be done within the original budget, and done right, ALL the time knowing there were issues with Phase 3.
Instead we bought up property in town and built a new building to expand town hall because we chose to grow government and municipal employees. Because of the poor decision making that has occurred and an obvious different set of priorities, the town’s biggest and most expensive needs were ignored.
Now, with all that being said, should the taxpayers be hit with a huge increase in their taxes to fix what has been ignored; what they thought was being taken care of? During a still stagnant and difficult economic period should we tell them it has to be done so here’s the bill? I don’t think so. For those that may be able to afford such things I say good for you, but the majority of this town does not have that luxury. We have had nearly 200 foreclosures in our little town and from what I see, there are many more to come. We have a large population of seniors in our town, a majority living on a fixed income and based on the numerous doors I have knocked on over the last 2 elections, many young families that live week to week.
So some may not like the road Trumbull took to rectify the problems that were ignored, but that does not mean it was not the right road to take for the residents of this town. They are after all, the people we have all promised to look out for.
Disclaimer: These are my views and may not be shared by other members of the Board of Finance or Town Committee.