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07/14/2021 08:00 AM

One Thing I Know

In the June 24 issue, Noreen Clough (letter “Duty-Bound to Respond”) alleged that my final two budgets were deficits. I proudly take credit for balancing 16 straight budgets, all of which were crafted under my supervision, and which were audited and confirmed each year. I also have no issue taking credit for the 2018-’19 budget, which uncharacteristically ended in a $1.2 million deficit. It was the result of a single, but costly revenue mistake by former finance director Paul Rizza, which he did not recognize and which I did not catch.

However, I refuse to own the “massive” $1.8 million deficit that took place under Mayor Joseph Carfora in the 2019-’20 budget. I was mayor for just 4 ½ months of that fiscal year, while Mayor Carfora controlled it for the remaining 7 ½ months. I have reviewed that budget and it’s obvious that the Carfora administration cooked the books and delayed receipt of the $1.2 million in Honeywell rebate savings slated for receipt January 2020. Instead, Mayor Carfora pushed off receipt of those monies and included them in his 2020-’21 budget, drastically undermining the 2019-’20 budget to prop up his current 2020-’21 budget. Oppositely, when I resumed office in 2011, I inherited a challenging budget from former mayor April Capone and I fought to turn it into a $200,000 surplus.

To the common citizen, these large numbers and date ranges are likely confusing. However, if there is one thing I know, it’s our community’s budget. And if there is one thing residents know, it’s that I balanced 16 of them. So I have a modest degree of credibility when it comes to the issue.

It’s been 590 days since I sat in the mayor’s chair, but if Mayor Carfora wants to debate it more, I’m happy to file my papers.

Joseph Maturo, Jr.

East Haven