Letter: Calls for transparency in handling of coming federal aid

To the Editor:

The federal “American Rescue Plan” stimulus bill that was recently adopted includes $2.6 billion, some of which is directly earmarked for Connecticut cities and towns - much of it is aimed at schools. Shelton is scheduled to receive $12,033,603 in town aid and $6,977,928 in additional funding aimed directly at K-12 schools.

Unfortunately, given the City of Shelton’s total lack of transparency and fiduciary competency that has already been exhibited by our elected officials - one has to ask: how is this money going to be tracked and allotted in order for it to reach the correct beneficiaries? This is especially true with regards to our schools. Perhaps some type of oversite committee could be set up as a “watch dog” group to supervise the transparent distribution of funds to the intended city departments?

This windfall cannot and should not fall into the wrong pockets or suddenly be deposited into the “fund balance” line item in order to build city reserves. Remember the “fund balance” was not depleted because of the pandemic but by the intentional spending of the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen. The citizens of Shelton deserve to know how and where these funds are distributed especially where the school system is concerned. Next year’s City budget across all departments should consider these funds as “additional” and “supplements” not an excuse to “cut” proposed budgetary line items and programs.

Finally, perhaps the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen should send a “thank you” to the Connecticut Congressional delegation for helping the towns, cities and residents especially the children for working for them in helping to attain these funds.

Dave Gioiello

Shelton Democratic Town Committee Chair