I don’t agree with all of this, but it’s interesting…
WEST HARTFORD TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION MAKES STATEMENT ON PROPOSED BUDGET
For Immediate Release
March 14, 2007
The West Hartford Taxpayers Association met on 3/14/07 at Town Hall and drafted this statement:
“The West Hartford Town Budget must not exceed a 2.5% increase from the 2006-07 current budget, otherwise it leaves no choice to the West Hartford Taxpayers Association but to go to a referendum.”
The President of the Taxpayers Association tried to approach the Town Council with information regarding Proposition 2 ? on two separate occasions, but they were not responsive and found technical excuses for not applying it to our own town budget.
Members of WHTA have also been in touch with State legislators regarding their efforts to implement Proposition 2 ? for municipalities from the state. The WHTA also plans to keep citizens updated as to how those initiatives are doing.
The feeling was that town spending has got to be put under control. There has got to be restraint by our leaders. If salaries and other mandated expenses have gone up then we must make cuts elsewhere, or at least initiate no new programs or freeze hiring of staff.
Residents at the meeting thought that the extremely high budget was proposed on purpose so that Town officials could posture for cutting taxes. Some people said, “Why didn’t they just come out with a reasonable budget to begin with? They have been working on this since January. It looks like they say 8.5% so that they can cut it back to 6% and make it look like they are being fair. It’s the same old game they play every year.”
Everyone in attendance was made aware of the current proposed budget that was presented to the Town Council on 3/13/07 by Town manager James Francis. The proposed budget called for an increase of 8.5% which included a 7.6% in the education budget alone. These budget increases were absolutely unacceptable to all taxpayers who were in attendance at the WH Taxpayer Association meeting. Despite the fact that the mill rate is expected to drop because of revaluation from 46.19 to 31.43, the WH Taxpayers Association still sees that as an exorbitant mill rate.
Vice President, Judy Aron said, ” We are glad to see our property values go up. That is wonderful news. The issue at hand though is the spending, and the spending amount which represents the budget is what drives the mill rate and essentially determines our individual tax bill. Right now that proposed mill rate of 31.43 represents a huge increase in tax for many taxpayers when applied to their new assessment. That is just unacceptable.”
Information on the website for the taxpayer group shows that :
Historical West Hartford Tax increases:
2001 – 4.0%
2002 – 5.6%
2003 – 5.6%
2004 – 6.3%
2005 – 4.3%
2006 – 6.0%
+ 31.8% in the past 6 years alone!
Proposed increase for 2007-08 is an additional 8.5%
Historical West Hartford Board of Education Budget increases:
2002-03 – 7.18% 90.96 Million
2003-04 – 4.83% 95.35 Million
2004-05 – 5.75% 100.84 Million
2005-06 – 5.66% 106.55 Million
2006-07 – 6.51% 113.48 Million
2002-07 – 29.93 % in the past 5 years alone ! Averaging 6% for the past 5 years !
According to the Superintendent’s budget presentation, this year (2007-08) they are proposing a 7.59% increase! (That’s 122.10 million dollars more!)
Many people in attendance were very upset that communication with Town Officials has been so quiet and limited. Apparently no one is allowed to speak to the budget issues except at public hearings and many people in general expressed a feeling of being shut out of the process until the public hearings are held. Attendees that had gone for assessment appeals were also very unhappy with the treatment and responses they received from the process.
The West Hartford Taxpayers Association set up several committees, and will be doing some outreach to those families not easily reached via email to inform them of budget update information. They have members who will be examining the presented budgets of the Town as well as the Board of Education. The next full monthly meeting of the WHTA is scheduled for April 23, 2007 at 7:00 PM in Room 400 at the
All are welcome to attend.
The West Hartford Taxpayers Association is non-partisan. WHTA is an association dedicated to the proposition that Town Government can be operated efficiently to provide needed services at a fair cost to the Citizens of West Hartford. It has been in existence since 1933. For additional information visit the West Hartford Taxpayers Association web site at http://whta.org/ or contact WHTA President Theresa McGrath at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-570-1203, or WHTA Vice-President Judy Aron at email@example.com or call 860-523-7257