While I am not in favor of many of the cuts that the Aldermen have made on the recently passed “election year budget”, I am very much in agreement with, and applaud, Chairman Blake for his position on reconsidering the use of our favorable bond rating for the work required to be done at Jonathan Law High School. It is public knowledge that the work has to be done, and for Mayor to say that “it is not the right time” I believe he is doing a disservice to Milford. This is the perfect time to take advantage of the positive lending environment that presently exists for Milford and the work should not be put off until after the election.
As Chairman Blake noted, the City has one of the most favorable bond ratings in the State. If that is true, then why not take advantage of it? Why wait until after the elections are over when the costs WILL be greater and the rates WILL undoubtedly be higher than they are today? Using our good bond rating, lower interest rates, and a lower project cost than previously proposed, is a sensible and responsible thing to be doing at this time. This would represent good planning for the future and good management of the City’s resources.
Many are aware that Milford retired some very high interest rate bonds this past year and to replace them with the lower rates that are available now makes good financial sense and epitomizes sound fiscal management. The Mayor’s insistence that bonding would send the “wrong message” could not be any further from the reality of what is needed for our community.
What has sent the wrong message was Mayor Richetelli’s request for a raise in the later part of 2008 knowing all the while he was going to be asking the unions to freeze their pay. Fortunately, the Aldermen rejected his pay raise request.
What has sent the wrong message was Mayor Richetelli’s spending $48,000.00 for a review of the Building Department procedures and practices.
What has sent the wrong message was Mayor Richetelli’s handling of the Cadley property sale.
And certainly, what has sent the wrong message, was Mayor Richetelli’s 3 step “election year budget” proposal that is comprised of: (1) transferring over 2 1/2 million from rainy day and other accounts. What happens next year if the economy is still sluggish and we need to move money again from accounts to balance the budget? (2) Having the unions freeze their pay this year saving the City $850,000.00. What happens next year when we have already guaranteed the unions an increase that will cost us that same $850,000.00, plus a “no lay off guarantee”? And finally, (3) he proposes selling a piece of City property for $225,000.00. Why not hold on to it until the market recovers and the value increases?
These three items will have to be factored back into the budget for next year and will inevitably create a tax increase for everyone.
Although all of our neighbors would appreciate and could use the proposed $150.00 savings in their taxes next year, I think they would appreciate hearing an assurance from the Mayor that next years budget will not swallow this tax saving and much, much more due to his reactionary fiscal policies.
Unfortunately, this situation is a result of poor fiscal management, which Milfordites are subject to every time an election year comes our way. The City’s budget should not be a “play thing” to be used for votes; it should be the backbone of the City and provide for all of us every year. It should not be a test of who can cut more from the budget, the Democrats or the Republicans. We deserve better and should demand more from our elected officials.
Peter L. Spalthoff Independent Party candidate for Mayor