Category Archives: West Hartford Taxpayers Association

Bye, Theresa! Taxpayer prez says she’s moving

“I myself am not able to afford to live in this town,” [Theresa] McGrath said. She said her agenda was to cut taxes. “I don’t want to move. I’m going to have to move,” she said.

Maybe I’m crazy, but if West Hartford Taxpayer co-prez Theresa McGrath is moving, why is she setting our community’s agenda? If she’s “going to have to move” then why is she given any attention at all? I can barely afford to stay, but I’m staying. She isn’t, apparently, so why do we care what she says?

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Filed under budget, News, referendum, Theresa McGrath, West Hartford Taxpayers Association

Now the council needs to stand strong

The town council plans to hold a public comment hearing on how to revise the budget starting at 7:30 p.m.  The council itself will vote on Wednesday night.

“Residents are welcome to come and offer their views,” Mayor Scott Slifka told the Courant. “We want to make sure people know about it and that it will be televised.”

So what will happen? What should we tell the council? What should the council do?

My own suggestion is simple: don’t cut more from education.

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Filed under budget, education, referendum, town council, West Hartford, West Hartford Taxpayers Association

Resident pleads for ‘Yes’ vote

This email & an addendum came in to me today. They seem worth sharing: 

I doubt there is anyone left who is unaware of this, but we are going
to referendum on Tuesday to support or send back the town budget.
Whatever your opinion, you should make it to the polls, so that we
really know what the majority of WH wants.  If you listen to the West
Hartford Tax Payer’s Association, then we are all unhappy with the
budget and are demanding more cuts.  They got the signatures to force
the referendum.  However, after speaking to some people who DID sign
the petitions, they were not necessarily fully aware of the situation.
I also don’t know how many of them realized that the highest officers
of the WHTA are home-schooling and/or sending their kids to private
schools.  It would seem to me that the stakes are not as high for them
in terms of cut-backs in education.

I am not afraid to stand up and tell you I am voting YES to support the
budget.  Like many of you, I am unhappy with the current state of the
cuts made by the BOE, but a NO vote will NOT get those back – it will
only force more cuts.  If you live in WH for the quality of the West
Hartford Public Schools and the other municipal services that we are
offered, then you should join me in voting YES.

I am, like many, confused by the article in Friday’s Courant about the
“lies” and both sides are now calling the others liars.  I can
understand that we need to fight more for our share of ECS funds.
Perhaps there could be some changes made that don’t effect the
programs.  But stuck in the middle of it all is our children, and if we
don’t support the budget now, that is where the cuts will be made – to
our classrooms and to our kids.  If you want to see a restructuring
that will change things in the coming years, then I urge you to get
involved earlier in the process next year.  The schools start preparing
the budget in the fall and by March the administration is presenting it
to the BOE.

When we got the letter from Jim Francis explaining the coming
year’s taxes, we realized it will not be nearly as bad as we expected.
Yes it’s going up, but not dramatically.  I believe them when they say
that as revaluation is phased in, the mill rate will go down.  Maybe it
will never reach the 29 mill rate the mayor has indicated, but I’d like
to believe it will indeed go down, and will balance off the increases
proportionately.  If we continue to make cuts to our services, we may
have lower taxes but what will happen to our property values?

Yes – I am a WHPS teacher, but I’m also a graduate, as was my dad, and
we intend our children to be, as well.  I can tell you from the inside
that many decisions are on hold until this budget is solidified.  New
teachers (like my daughter’s teacher who was a long-term sub this year
and has been offered a position for next year) are not able to sign
contracts until they find out if there are going to be shifts due to
classroom sizes being increased, or Quest being cut, or Kindergarten
going to 1/2 day.  In all cases, tenured teachers will bump out the
newer ones.  That means grade level changes, school changes, and new
curriculums to be learned – which is not necessarily awful but it does
effect our kids on a daily basis.  As any teacher can tell you, the
first year in a new position is a learning year.

If you are interested, there is a West Hartford blog in which you can
see, and participate, in discussions about our town.  It’s being
managed by a WH dad and some of our town officials are even adding to
the discourse.  Unfortunately, some people have resorted to
name-calling and are a bit overly dramatic, but if you skim through
some of those and find the good stuff, you can learn a lot about what
is going on:   https://whdad.wordpress.com/

As stated by Kiernan Majerus-Collins, a 6th grade Quest student, at the
May 29th public hearing, “People don’t move to West Hartford for the
tax breaks, they move to West Hartford for the education.”   (Watch for
Kiernan in future political races 15-20 years from now!)

Feel free to pass this message along, (or shorten it if you wish… but
please don’t misquote me.)  I am hopeful that there won’t be any
ramifications to me – as I’ve seen some not-so-nice stuff on that
blog… I’m just another concerned tax-payer and mom who wants to urge
you to vote on Tuesday, and hope that you vote YES.

Hello again…
I do apologize for bothering you again, but I have to set one thing
straight.  I was just looking at the ad taken out by the WHTA on the
front of the Trade Winds today.  I don’t know about the rest of the
numbers, but I can tell you with certainty that WH teachers do not have
$3.00 co-payments on healthcare.  I’ve been here for 5 years and
they’ve never been that low.  The below excerpt is on the WH Blog, from
a memo written by Jim Francis to the Town Council, and has been there
since June 9th – so I suppose they would have already submitted their
ad.  The memo was submitted to the blog by Chuck Coursey.  The memo
itself is dated June 5th.
https://whdad.wordpress.com/2007/06/09/vote-yes-on-the-budget/

       • The Taxpayers say the average co-payments are $3.00. I do not know
where this comes from but the co-pays for teachers,     administrators,
professionals, and nurses are: office visit -$20; emergency room – $75;
Inpatient hospital – $75; Prescription drug – $5 for    generic, $20 for
brand formulary, and $35 for brand non-formulary.

I’m not calling anyone a liar – but they should really get their facts
straight before they take out ads on the front of a paper.  I wouldn’t
let my students put that kind of misinformation in a school research
project, and they’d have to cite their sources, to boot.

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Filed under education, News, referendum, Taxes, town council, West Hartford Taxpayers Association

Budget referendum is MEANINGLESS

The referendum we’re voting on next week will tell us exactly nothing about what this town wants in its budget for the coming fiscal year.

The question it asks — “Are you in favor of the budget ordinance as adopted on April 24, 2007?” – would get a NO from almost everybody. The anti-tax fanatics will vote against it because they want even more cuts, but many residents will also vote no because they want more money for education.

Town councilors would be sorely mistaken to interpret a NO vote on the referendum as a demand that more cuts be made. The reality is that many, many people in West Hartford are feeling disheartened that so much has been sliced already.

I’ve already said that I think those of us who want more school spending should hold our noses and vote for this flawed budget. But I know many people won’t do it even though they oppose further cuts.

The West Hartford Taxpayers Association has forced this town to waste more money on a worthless referendum that will tell us nothing except perhaps that a majority of people don’t like the budget. Now that’s a stunner.

This whole thing is cheap charade. It will not provide direction to a confused council. It will not improve our town. It will only divide us further as we clash with one another about a budget everybody loathes.

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Filed under budget, News, referendum, town council, West Hartford Taxpayers Association

Don’t give in, Board of Ed

Let’s try this scenario on: What if the Board of Ed simply refused to make any more cuts in its budget (after removing any spending that’s not going to hurt in the classroom)? Couldn’t it just tell the council that it’s sliced away all that it can in good conscience and plead for more money? I assume that the budget is going to set what the schools get, come hell or high water, so what difference does it make if they make the cuts now or later? In the meantime, let’s make a show of it. Let’s not back down and shrug our shoulders and do what’s asked.

At the very least, it would have the effect of making sure this whole town recognizes that the budget is already too damn small, which is not a bad thing to have everyone thinking shortly before a referendum foisted on us by those who don’t care what happens to our schools.

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Filed under Board of Education, budget, education, referendum, Schools, town council, West Hartford Taxpayers Association

Taxpayers group springs for BBQ!

The June meeting of the West Hartford Taxpayers Association is going to be held on June 22 at Therese McGrath’s place on Richmond Road.

Called the “MDC (Many Dedicated Citizens) Bash and BBQ” the group is touting the event as “a celebration to thank each and every taxpayer for all of their hard work to help lower our taxes.”

It’s a bring-your-own-lawn-chair-and-side-dish kind of thing, but the BBQ is courtesy of the WHTA, which is as good a way to spend its money as I can envision.

If you want to attend — and who wouldn’t? — check out the WHTA website, link somewhere to the right of the page here, and call Theresa.

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Filed under budget, referendum, Taxes, Theresa McGrath, West Hartford Taxpayers Association

Let’s pass the budget on June 12

The wasteful referendum the West Hartford Taxpayers Association foisted on us is now scheduled for June 12. We’re left with no alternative except to vote for the budget then, even if we have to hold our noses. After all, town officials would only cut more if the budget gets voted down — even if many of us would prefer the spending plan allocated MORE money.

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Filed under budget, News, referendum, West Hartford Taxpayers Association