Letter: Writer opposes charter revision
To the Editor:
I am a combat Marine veteran who has lived in Shelton for more than 16 years. I am a registered Democrat but a fiscally conservative one who has voted across party lines primarily for reasons of keeping taxes low, transparent governance and good policy planning.
I have voted for our current mayor, Mark Lauretti, in past elections due to what I perceived as meeting my expectations of political leadership. However, it has become abundantly clear that although I believed these things to be true, the facts simply do not support this any longer. Over the past few years, we have seen our rainy day fund disappear, the handling of our police department to be very shortsighted and, despite repeated efforts from our Democratic leaders in town, we have not been told what the true cost of changing our busing contracts has cost taxpayers.
It is for these reasons we must take a very close look at the upcoming charter revision changes that are being proposed in the coming election. Most concerning is the removal of the Board of Apportionment and Taxation that will eliminate the oversight of how the city funds projects and operates its day-to-day business. This cloak of secrecy will not allow for taxpayers to question how the city manages its finances as evidenced by the stonewalling it has already embraced with questions about the busing contracts.
The city recently refused to give money back to the Board of Education for busing that was not utilized in the spring of 2020 as well as federal money that was supposed to go for COVID-19 relief. The city is currently holding that money hostage to sway voters to vote yes for the charter revision.
The revision also allows for the expansion of partisan politics by increasing the number of board members one political party can hold on various boards from 5 to 4 to a 6 to 3 supermajority. This may sound great if you are the party in control, which currently in Shelton happens to be Republicans, but with changing demographics and the current state of affairs happening in Shelton, this may not be so favorable in the future.
There is simply not sufficient reason to do this other than to provide the mayor with even more power consolidation and to keep taxpayers even further in the dark about his actions.
Do not be fooled by the rhetoric about how this charter revision is good for Shelton. It also allows for increased bonding the Board of Aldermen can do without input via a referendum from 2 percent to 3 percent. This simply gives one party even further power to do what it wants with very little input/oversight from concerned citizens from the other party or independent voters.
Our city deserves a voice from everyone that lives in Shelton, and we should all vote no to the charter revision on Nov. 3.
Michael J. Federici