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October 19, 2019  |  

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A Whole New Approach

Published April 24, 2019

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Are taxpayers commodities, things that can be used? Are citizens a laboratory for academic studies and do we need very expensive hired consultants to think for us? Current government thinks so.

Soon Clinton will no longer have governing body of a first selectman and corresponding Board of Selectman. That format extinguishes this November. The new format will be a town manager and Town Council. With the planned elimination of a Board of Finance, there will be a lot less eyes to scrutinize and question spending. We must be watchful.

A whole new approach is needed to run the show: 90 percent economist and 10 percent politician. What exists now is the opposite. Clinton taxpayers crave fitness of fiscal management. Required is a management style that is not out of touch and arrogant.

Clinton’s first selectman Christine Goupil announced on the town’s website the reduction of interest on some of the town debt. Good news? In perspective, each taxpayer in Clinton has a debt of about $6,500 on borrowed money. Debt does kick the can down the road. The announcement may be an egocentric desire to politicize or spin accounting in a positive way.

The elephant in the room is spending and debt: Debt of more than $70 million requires payments of $4-plus million a year for principle and interest, and budget spending for next year will increase by $1.6 million. Presenting this issue as “a win” is not even a half-truth. The debt, which includes the cost for the new high school, is a stone in the shoe of taxpayers that will not be removed for 20 years.

When your readers enter the ballot box on May 8, I encourage them to throw themselves against this question: Is this the best and most clearly understandable use of my money?

Ona Nejdl
Clinton

Ona Nejdl (R) serves on the Board of Finance.

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