Letter: Shelton putting too many expenses on ‘credit card bill’
To the Editor:
This is in response to Ron Pavluvcik’s letter in the Shelton Herald on the mayoral campaign, stating “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, it is broke and it needs fixing.
Shelton’s prosperity and success are great on the surface, and you do point out positive things about new businesses, housing, open space and the dog pound, and I appreciate all of these things. But dig deeper and open your eyes to the underlying issues, not just the low taxes that many people see.
Roads ‘chip sealed’ and not paved
In the last election, the residents of Shelton voted on multiple referendums. One was the approval of $5 million for the paving of Shelton’s roads.
Some roads have been paved with real asphalt, but most have gotten the cheap, quick fix “chip seal” that only temporarily covers up the problems that will have to be fixed in a few years.
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Editor’s note: A shorter version of this letter appeared in the Oct. 23 Shelton Herald print edition. That version was shortened by the editor to meet the length guidelines for political letters in the print edition.
The stones and tar stick to our vehicles, and the stone is pushed off the road by plows in the winter onto people’s lawns. The roads are not any smoother and definitely louder to drive on. That is not the paving that we voted for in the referendum.
Most other towns have road maintenance accounts that would cover a regular schedule of paving. It should not have been a referendum vote. But our taxes are low.
Fire truck replacement account
Another referendum question was for the approval of $3.5 million for the purchase of four new fire trucks. It was voted on and approved, and being a Shelton firefighter, I am very thankful to our residents for that. But it never should have to come to a vote.
If the city had continued to replace fire apparatus on a regular basis as it had in the past, it would not have to be a referendum question. The city administration stopped annual funding of an account for fire truck replacement that the previous administration had in place so there was no money to replace the tired, outdated fire trucks. Now it is a huge expense all at once.
Grant missed for fire radio system
While we are on the subject of the Fire Department, look at the recent purchase and installation of the new radio system. When the new system was in the planning stages, the Shelton Fire Department was trying to apply for a $1 million government grant to help pay for the radios.
Mayor Mark Lauretti felt the need to dispute the facts included in the grant application about the old radio system failing. While the dispute was going on, Shelton missed out on the grant. Now the city has to pay the entire bill for well over a million dollars, at taxpayer’s expense.
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Read Ron Pavluvcik’s letter by clicking below:
But we could not discuss it with Mayor Lauretti at Board of Aldermen meetings because he wasn’t at the public speaking portion of the meeting to listen to what residents had to say. The mayor doesn’t realize that if he would just support his fire department, he would have 250-plus firefighters that would support him.
Mr. Mayor, you are very fortunate to have a well staffed fire department with a dedicated group of volunteers saving the city millions of dollars in salaries and benefits that would be spent for a paid department. And many of our residents still have no idea that the Shelton firefighters are all volunteer.
Part-time vs. full-time employees
Mr. Pavluvcik, I would also like you to ask the employees of this town who are not getting paid holidays, vacation or benefits because they are considered “part time” how well they are doing. The mayor is saving money by not paying those benefits because he refuses to pay for full-time employees.
Ask them how they are doing after the mayor recently cut their hours back even more, which will probably be blamed on Obamacare. How are these people supposed to survive with huge cuts in their paychecks? They already have to pay for their own healthcare insurance.
Is it a positive thing to have city employees with low morale who can’t pay their bills? As a resident said at a Board of Aldermen meeting, “You can’t run a full-time city with part-time people.” But remember, our taxes are low.
Outdated equipment for road crews
How about the condition of the vehicles that are taking care of daily maintenance of Shelton’s roads and parks?
Next time residents complain about not having their roads plowed in a timely manner, take a look at the tired, outdated, decomposing trucks and equipment that the city workers have to deal with daily.
Many are used, recycled vehicles disposed of by other city departments or junk purchased from surrounding towns that have seen much better days. They are old, rotted and broken and need to be replaced with new equipment.
This is another account defunded by the present city administration. But our taxes are low.
No referendum or bidding on buses
On buying propane school buses, why was there no referendum on a purchase of more than $5 million and no bidding? In contrast, we had to vote for the fire trucks. And the mayor chose the propane vendor without the bidding process.
He is also having a dilapidated old building on Riverdale Avenue refurbished to handle the maintenance of the new school buses. Where is that money coming from? How much will it cost?
Another referendum question involved Canal Street. Why are we still putting millions of dollars into a street that still is not completed? And it is a dead end — there is only one way in and out. This a dangerous situation for emergency services.
Normally the developer would help foot the bill for infrastructure improvements like this. Another huge taxpayer expense.
Today’s bonding means future tax hikes
Much of the purchasing in this town is done by bonding that is just one giant credit card bill. Unfortunately, the next mayor will have to deal with the mess and will have to take the blame when taxes skyrocket.
I could go on but there isn’t enough room here. So, yes, Mr. Pavluvcik, sadly it is broken and it needs to be fixed. But our taxes are low.