Press release from West Hartford Taxpayers Association

West Hartford Taxpayers AssociationPress ReleaseApril 7, 2007 For Immediate Release  

CONTACT:         Judy Aron, Vice President of
West Hartford Taxpayers Association                   860-523-7257  

WHTA COMMENTS ON THE TOWN BUDGET HEARINGS  

The West Hartford Taxpayers Association was represented by its President, Theresa McGrath at both the Board of Education public hearing on their budget, and the Town Council Budget public hearing.  She stated the plight of the taxpayers and their profound disagreement with an 8.5% budget increase.   

With standing room only in Council Chambers, and about 20 people who came to the podium to speak, the last Town Council Budget public hearing was held on Holy Thursday and Passover, 04/05/07.  None of the Town Budget public hearings have been taped or televised thus far, although the next one on Tuesday April 10 will be shown on WHCTV, due to pressure from the taxpayers.    

People who spoke primarily said that town spending has got to be put under control.  George Kennedy was one resident who spoke about the inequities of the assessments, and how they were not properly done.  He mentioned that some residents are considering legal action as a result. Zach Singer said that not only are senior citizens being pushed out of West Hartford, but high taxes are preventing young adults, like him, who grew up and were educated in
West Hartford from being able to come home to live here.  Other residents spoke about the enormous hike in taxes they would be expected to pay with this type of taxation and that they would just not be able to pay it.  They also said that neighboring homes, already put up for sale, have not been selling at all.  Taxpayers also stated that they cannot see how the Town’s budget can continually exceed cost of living increases and that taxpayers cannot keep pace with this current level of taxation, since their own incomes do not rise nearly as much. On average the Town’s budget has gone up 5.5% every year for the past 5 years.  One gentleman spoke about the need to cut back on the size of government in
West Hartford and that the reason our taxes are too high in municipal and education spending is that we hire too many people. He cited that with 9936 students in our schools and 1400 employees that this represented 7 students for every school employee! That ratio, he said, was just outrageous.  

People cited many places in the budget which might be given consideration to be examined, such as overtime, freezing hiring, not adopting new programs and cutting office and travel expenses and food budgets.  The Mayor said that a new mini-golf course and sports center at
Buena Vista had not been approved yet, although $300,000 has been set aside in the capitol improvement budget (page 187 of the proposed annual budget) for a miniature golf course.  No money has been budgeted for stadium lights at the high schools either.  One woman, who spoke, stated that she thought that Summer School and Continuing Education should be programs which are financially self-sustaining, and currently are not.  

The WHTA wants to remind taxpayers that aside from what we pay the MDC in municipal taxes and usage, individual water fees will be going up significantly.  There is currently legislation in the General Assembly which proposes doubling MDC water fees.  Additionally, 40% of the MDC’s recent bonding ($800 million for half of the project) will be made up by
West Hartford taxpayers.  Currently MDC gets about $6.9 million in funding from
West Hartford (Page 151 of the proposed annual budget).  According to our Town Manager, that figure is expected to be almost equivalent to the current town budget by the time the MDC’s Clean Water Project is well underway. 

The next full monthly meeting of the West Hartford Taxpayers Association is scheduled for April 23, 2007 at 7:00 PM in Room 400 at the

West Hartford
Town Hall,

50 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT
06107

   All are welcome to attend. 

The West Hartford Taxpayers Association has also produced a TV show called “Tax Talk” that is being shown on WHCTV Channel 5 on Wed 4/11/07 at 9:30 PM and Mon 4/16/07 at 9:00 PM. WHTA hopes that the public will tune in. 

The West Hartford Town Council is slated to vote on a budget on April 24, 2007. The West Hartford Taxpayers Association has already made a statement that if the budget exceeds a 2.5% increase that they will initiate a referendum on that budget.  

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 president@whta.org or 860-570-1203, or  WHTA Vice-President Judy Aron at vpresident@whta.org or call 860-523-7257 

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Filed under budget, education, News, referendum, Town government, West Hartford, West Hartford Taxpayers Association

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