Letter: Shelton A&T offers necessary independent, non-partisan budget review

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

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To the Editor:

John Anglace, chair of the Shelton Board of Aldermen, recently wrote a letter to the editor quibbling about whether the Board of Apportionment and Taxation has an oversight role over city finances. The issue is not oversight. The issue is responsible fiscal management. I cite the following examples.

· Each budget proposal for the coming year must be preceded by a forecast. This has not happened, a critical lapse since the COVID pandemic makes next year’s revenue projections problematic. The heavily partisan Board of Aldermen has no reason to question this.

· The city recently posted that 11 city budget line items were overspent by $118,000 with no explanation of how the budget will support these over-expenditures. The Board of A&T has the obligation by charter to review all line item excesses and either approve or disapprove transfers to cover them. The Mayor has prevented the Board from meeting.

· The recent Board of Aldermen meeting of Dec. 10 to approve these over-expenditures was both laughable and sad. There was no explanation for why, how this impacted other city departments and the overall budget, and even how to go about doing it. Check it out.

The Board of A&T is the closest thing that Shelton has to an independent, non-partisan review of city finances but its influence is limited by the charter’s requirement that the Board of Aldermen accept its recommendations and by the city’s failure to even call for the board to meet. This may not be oversight as Anglace defines it, but it’s a much-needed public accounting of how the city manages its finances. Without this view, there is plenty of opportunity for sloppy fiscal management at best, or a deficit budget at worst. Without the Board of A&T how will we know the level of risk we face?

John Harmon

Shelton