Letter: Alderman says Gidwani never protested past budgets

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Contributed photo

To the Editor:

The Shelton City Charter clearly states that the Board of Aldermen is charged with the financial oversight of the city finances which includes budget approvals and any expenditures. I am confused, as are others on the BoA, as to why Alderman Gidwani in his March 26 letter is criticizing the city spending practices.

Over the last four years, Gidwani has been a member of the BoA. And to my knowledge and memory, he agreed with the spending and budgets that were brought before the board each time. In 2018 and 2019, he voted for the city fiscal budgets as proposed. His 2020 vote was not recorded due to an "electronic glitch" during our final virtual budget meeting. I do not remember his protesting any of the expenditures that came before the board.

As a regular part of our city's financial practices, we do accumulate some savings and utilize these funds to lower or eliminate capital debt and expenses without paying interest, fees or attorneys expenses. This is one reason why we are normally debt free and not beholding to nor the favorites of the bond raters and bonding companies.

The $12 million Mr. Gidwani speaks of was dispersed in several ways to benefit the city and particularly schools. The largest expenditure was to cover the over spending of former Superintendent of Schools Chris Clouet and several, but not all, of the BoE at that time. The sum was $3.5 million. Clouet left quickly after this was generally exposed. All expenditures are approved in publicly announced and held meetings so this information is verifiable. Other large expenditures enhanced our school properties with more than $1.7 million to rehab the field and track at Shelton HS, another $1.2 million for the new roof on Sunnyside School and more than $1 million to remove and replace the windows at Elizabeth Shelton School. These funds were not taken from the regular school budget.

Please note our budgets are real, and we are very careful with other people’s money. This is not the case in Hartford and Washington, D.C. They either raid "protected" pension funds, re-route funds from other areas or borrow to cover these over expenditures as they "kick the can down the road" for our grandchildren and many generations to eventually deal with it.

In conclusion, no city administration in Connecticut has either lowered nor held their mill rate stable for 20 years as we have done in Shelton. Why? Our Republican administration, including boards and commissions, have managed our city growth very well. They have attracted businesses that are good for our bottom line as well as the environment and, most importantly, who employ Shelton citizens which adds to our city's economic strength. Even during this pandemic, the citizens of Shelton may receive a modest lowering of the mill rate for fiscal year 2021-22 if the budget as proposed is approved in May by the BoA.

Please go to the cityofshelton.org to review Mayor Mark Lauretti's 2021-22 budget address to understand that even in these very tentative times, the administration is working to hold the line on expenditures.

Hoping everyone is safe and well. And thanks to all our first responders who will never be forgotten for all that they have done.

Anthony F. Simonetti

Alderman, 1st Ward