Letter: Shelton budget lowers mill rate but short changes education, again

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 Board of Aldermen voted 7-1 (Alderman Gidwani opposed) to approve their 2021-22 budget. This budget lowers the mill rate to the tune of $96 per the median taxpayer, while yet again failing to provide for our parents, students and teachers by cutting the proposed Education budget by more than $1 million.

I understand and support running a tight ship and lowering the mill rate as a result. We should absolutely question where and why every tax dollar is spent and do everything we possibly can to keep the mill rate as low as possible. This is why since 2019 I have been in favor of an operational audit of city government operations in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of how we spend our tax dollars.

Lowering the mill rate is a good thing. Doing so without adequate investment in the future of city services, however, is not. Such management of taxpayer dollars is shortsighted, especially in a year when revenues were through the roof due to a variety of factors, COVID monies and BOE reimbursements being two main factors.

Sadly, this budget puts the future health of city finances and our schools at risk. It was just last year that Shelton's bond rating was lowered because of a broke general fund, increasing borrowing costs in the long run. This budget does nothing to address that issue, or to ensure that Shelton will be able to keep taxes low in the long run. What happens when the BOE reimbursements and COVID savings/grant money runs out?

The budget approved tonight (with a modest mill rate reduction) is a short term, win now and plan later budget, because it is an election year. That's the real, no BS truth. It's unfortunate, but it doesn't have to be this way.

We can elect leaders who keep taxes low while also responsibly investing in our town's future. We can elect leaders who aren't afraid of an operational audit. We can elect leaders who put the health and future of our city over everything else.

We just need to have the courage to get involved and be the change.

I am proud to be running for Shelton's Board of Aldermen this year with the bi-partisan Envision Shelton team. You can visit our website at http://www.envisionshelton.com/to learn more about our candidates and our mission to work together across party lines to serve you!

Matt McGee

Field Director, Envision Shelton.

Democratic Candidate for Board of Aldermen, 3rd Ward