Aware of the Magnitude
I’m torn. As a committed educator for the past 17 years, I understand that education is the most important community issue. We would love to have new schools and community assets. The CPA in me came out at recent meetings concerning the February referendums. I don’t believe the public is aware of the magnitude of what will be voted on.
The $105 million in proposed projects is very significant when compared to the size of our town and our financial position. This will increase taxes significantly and future budget drafters will have their hands tied. You can adjust programs and general expenditures; you can’t adjust debt service payments.
Per our most recent financial statements, our bonded debt is approximately $21 million. We could more than quadruple our bonded debt if the projects are approved. I’m very disappointed that the state will only be funding 18 percent of our school projects. While there may be some state support for the Academy project, nothing appears definitive. My understanding is that Clinton received almost 44 percent from the state for its high school and that Guilford received 31 percent for its.
I also note that we’ll receive a measly $413,125 from the state for education and other aid this year. We’re being short-changed. Who is watching out for us in Hartford? Our residents send significant tax revenue to the state and receive little in return. Let’s get our fair share before considering these projects.
Why are we voting on such significant decisions on Feb. 15? Why not vote on these with the budget referendum in May? I would urge residents to consider the level of bonding being proposed and to make a thoughtful decision. Either way, hope that we don’t get a foot of snow on Feb. 15 and go out and vote.