Letter: Praises defeat of charter changes, calls for bipartisan look at future revisions

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:

To the citizens of Shelton, thank you for voting overwhelmingly against the proposed charter revision. I have so much appreciation for the work that you did to understand the issues at stake, to read the proposed charter revisions, to read the letters printed here from those of us who wrote in to communicate why we thought the proposed changes were ill-advised, and to vote against it.

I’m proud of Shelton for understanding the truth, and rejecting the bad ideas and overreach that the Charter Commission proposed. If some version of this should be proposed again in the future, I hope that you will employ these same critical thinking skills to the next version as well.

To the mayor and the Board of Aldermen, we now have another opportunity to work together, in a bipartisan manner, to figure out what is in the best interests of Shelton, and work toward that goal. Many of us made suggestions to the Charter Commission for improvements to the document that we thought would result in good government for Shelton, and our suggestions were previously rejected. You wanted to eliminate the Board of Apportionment and Taxation, but 70 percent of the people who voted on this issue, voted to reject that change. I spoke to countless people across the city in the last month who immediately understood the value of bipartisan oversight of the budget process and the value of checks and balances in city government.

The question is, will you now support the operation of the Board of Apportionment and Taxation in the way that the charter envisions? We are about to go into another budget season. It is my hope that, this year, we will have actual budget hearings, run by the Board of Apportionment and Taxation as mandated by the charter, with department heads coming forward to answer questions in public about their proposed budgets, the way we did in 2018 and 2019. We should be taking advantage of the technology available to us and live-streaming the budget hearings on YouTube, over Zoom, the way that the Board of Education has done, so that anyone who is interested can watch the hearings and learn more about the way in which their tax dollars are being spent. The finance director should be an integral part of this process, advising and providing information to the board throughout the process. Let’s not use the pandemic as an excuse to shut down the budget process again this year. The people of Shelton deserve better, and they made their voices heard on Nov. 3.

To my fellow Democrats in Shelton, we know you are out there. To borrow from Mark Twain, rumors of the death of the Democratic Party in Shelton have been greatly exaggerated. We are alive and well and we need you. Visit www.sheltondemocrats.com to find out what we are doing and join us, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Maybe you would like to run for office in Shelton. Maybe you have skills that would be valuable to future campaign efforts. The municipal elections are in 2021. Start by coming to a meeting. The Shelton Democratic Town Committee meetings are held the 3rd Monday of the month, at 6:30 p.m. We are meeting virtually for now, and if you contact us through the website, we will send you the link to join the meeting.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for voting to preserve the Board of Apportionment and Taxation, for preserving a bipartisan Board of Education, for rejecting the attempt to create supermajorities on every elected board in the city, and for rejecting the attempt to raise the bonding limit for the Board of Aldermen. I hope that this marks the beginning of better government in Shelton.

Michelle Laubin

Member of the Board of Apportionment and Taxation 2018 to present.