Letter: Shelton charter revision chairman’s op-ed misleading
To the Editor:
Dan Debicella’s op-ed is mostly carefully crafted misleading statements. For starters, many if not most of the people writing to oppose this charter revision are Republicans. Many of us have been elected to office as Republicans. At least three of us have served on the Republican Town Committee (RTC) Steering Committee.
The reason we are no longer on the RTC is they threw us off because we wouldn’t blindly support our mayor when he was wrong.
As we’ve said before, state statute doesn’t require us to revise the charter every 10 years — it requires us to review it and make any changes that are necessary. They are wordsmithing to mislead you.
The claim the RTC and DTC appoint the members of A&T is false. Three of the people I served with while on the Board of A&T were members of a third party. Individuals can petition to run without party affiliation if they want. A&T guarantees members of more than one party will be involved in the budget process.
Sometimes a zoning change is a good thing. Sometimes it’s breaking a promise — changing the character of a neighborhood. Those kinds of decisions should require the support of people from more than one party. Look at how many recently approved developments couldn’t happen unless Planning and Zoning issued a PDD. Look at how many high density one bedroom rental apartments have been approved. They are changing the character of Shelton.
The minority representation called for in this revision is based on the minimum number the state will allow. Statutes don’t suggest or require super majorities on every board or commission as proponents would have you believe. They restrict how out of balance things can be.
The bond increase would allow the city to spend 3 percent more than they collect on taxes each year. Road repairs should be built into our annual budgets. It’s not a good idea to borrow for things you do every day. How healthy would your financial picture be if you consistently spent 3 percent more than you earn each year?
There is no funding mechanism for technology in the charter revision. It allows for one. Aldermen could fund technology today if they wanted to. The Board of Ed has shown they are careful with taxpayer dollars. In Connecticut, 158 of 167 school districts have larger budgets per student than us.
Within reasonable budget limitations, our BoE should be free to purchase the items their IT professionals feel is best for our needs. They are the ones who will need to maintain and support it.
If approved, the mayor will have the ability to hire and fire more people. Look at the mess in the police department. Do we really want more of that throughout our government?
Please look at actual facts and circumstances. Please vote no on this charter revision.
Former RTC vice chairman
Former BoE chairman
Former A&T chairman