Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Discussions Get Ugly On Milford's 2011 Budget
The onset of budget season has begun with our Mayor Jim Richetelli being concerned that the year is "starting off with many unanswered questions." Former RTC Member, and insurance Guru, Tom Byrne has been in contact with Aldematic Chairman Greg Smith. The nature of their discussion is marked by disagreement from the onset regarding the creation of an efficiency committee as suggested by Hartford.
Every year the austerity measures aimed at city services and municipal employees are of serious concern, especially to those individuals whose jobs are on the cutting block. None have decried the protection of city jobs more than James Whittaker who is frequently seen at City Hall protesting cuts that affect his staff.
The balance of services, and responsible government rests in the hands of our leaders and Tom Byrne feels our leaders have fell short of their responsibility. He points out in several local newspapers that city spending has increased in tandem with the Bond Debt. Such a combination without a meaningful or serious approach in the coming budget year is a recipe for disaster.
The increase in our public debt raises our debt service payments, these are also going up with health insurance costs, building and maintenance costs, and routine contractual raises that virtually every local labor union expects to get. Last budget season many concessions were made by some labor unions including reductions in COLA's and reductions in infrastructure.
This year is marked by a 1.5 Million reduction in Federal education funding. This reduction was one Rep. Rosa Delauro failed to fight for. The propensity for balancing our budget is further complicated by the fact that nearly 20% of all homes listed for sale in Milford are in foreclosure. Driving up taxes to pay our bills will be an exercise in futility and will not work. This hard lesson was demonstrated in Hartford, Bridgeport, and many other cities who, in my opinion mismanaged their budgets in favor of tax exempt 501C3's and inefficient government jobs.
It's my opinion that Milford cannot tax its way out of this problem come 2011. Attempting to tax our way out of this problem will not work, especially if inflation is low, local unemployment is high, COLA's are suspended by pension recipients and Local Real Estate continues to stagnate.
The showdown is going to be between the Paid elected city leaders and City Union employees who have been funding and supporting local elections with entitlement motives. Crossing the city unions, who have doled out Tens of Thousands of dollars to local municipal races could mean significant losses of votes come the 2012 election.