LETTER: The correct budget process is being followed
To the Editor:
Complaints have been received that many, or even most, department heads are not showing up at city budget meetings. As Board of Aldermen president and someone who has attended these meetings, I can say these claims are not true.
The City Charter states: “The Board of Apportionment and Taxation shall review the proposed budget, holding at least one (1) departmental hearing in joint session with the Board of Aldermen, at which the departments may appear and such other departmental hearings as the Board of Apportionment and Taxation shall deem appropriate.”
We provide the opportunity for all departments to be heard at budget sessions by the Board of Apportionment and Taxation (A&T) and Board of Aldermen (BOA). The joint process we follow also provides an opportunity for A&T and BOA members to ask questions.
“May” indicates that departments are not required to be at these hearings but the practice has been for the vast majority to show up, make a statement and answer any questions.
The vast majority of departments have shown up. Early on in the process, four departments did not. Overall, about 90% of departments sent representatives to the budget meetings.
This percentage is hardly befitting the following quote on the Shelton Voters Network (SVN) website: “Problem is: Most departments skip the workshop!” This is totally inaccurate, misleading and unfair to the vast majority of department heads who took the time to attend the budget hearings.
Department heads take this process seriously and their documentation is thorough.
As of early in the process, here’s who didn’t show up:
— The Probate Court did not attend. I can only guess that this department was fully satisfied with the mayor’s budget recommendation which, I believe is less than $20,000.
— The Shelton Youth Service Bureau did not attend. Right now we are testing to hire for that department head position.
— The Zoning Board of Appeals did not show up. I haven’t heard why but it might have something to do with the fact that Ed Conklin just recently assumed the chairmanship and its budget is less than $20,000.
— The public works director did not show up, nor did he send a representative. The A&T chairwoman said she got a message that the director was satisfied with the amount of money he was given.
Subsequently, the director did make himself available via telephone so any committee questions could be addressed.
The SVN and everyone should know that the budget process takes place over several months and glitches such as this can be addressed upon the initiative of the A&T chairwoman.
Drawing conclusions before the process is completed tends to lessen credibility. It’s important that advocacy for an issue not be clouded by premature and incorrect judgment.
The City Charter dictates the budget process to be followed, and it is being followed. Such negative statements only serve to polarize and politicize the process.
Board of Aldermen President
Editor’s note: John Anglace is a Republican.