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Letter: Stratford's Tax Hikes Are Out of Control

'For those of us who are barely getting by...this new budget is another slap in our faces,' writes Stratford resident Adam Brill in the following letter to the editor.

Note: Links to relevant content within this letter have been added by the editor.

Stratford Town Council's Tax Hikes are Out of Control

By Adam Brill

I want to take this time to thank the Council Republicans for adopting Stratford this year that raises taxes while cutting services -- not!

For those of us who are barely getting by and finding creative ways to make ends meet in this poor economy, this new budget is another slap in our faces.

To add insult to injury, the recent approval by the Republican-controlled Council and the mayor to $95 from $280 to $375 will further hurt our already struggling taxpayers.

Kudos to Council Democrat Stephanie Philips who dares to question such increases and has consistently voted against them.

Ms. Philips should also be commended for her investigative prowess when she recently questioned why the mayor, council chair Joe Kubic and the council Republicans went ahead and .

While municipalities around the metropolitan area are increasing fees -- the City of White Plains, New York has increased their fees to $10,000 and Yonkers is also looking at a similar increase -- Stratford would appear to be siding with tow operators by placing the loss of revenue on the back of us taxpayers!

This Council and mayor seem to have no problem with approving numerous six-figure hiring contracts for many new employees in . Again, bravo to Ms. Philips for questioning those lovely agreements that include town vehicles and free gas along with wonderful benefits.

Speaking of wonderful benefits, the mayor has an expense account of some $7500 that is his to do what he will -- it's like free money. While the terms of the mayor's personal expense account should be investigated further as it may be in violation of the Town Charter, one thing's for certain, he won't lose any sleep worrying about paying for this year's increased taxes and sewer fees.

Jason Bagley (Editor) July 17, 2012 at 01:51 PM
"I totally agree with this letter," writes Vincent Caizzi on the Stratford Patch Facebook page, "this Mayor and Town Council are a complete JOKE. It just seems like poor policy uping taxes in such a bad economy when people are struggling to make ends meet. Maybe a layoff is in order for this town starting with the mayor." 'Like' our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/StratfordPatch
Karen E Daden July 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I agree that taxes are way to high. But, I also believe that this is happening now because of what did not happen 5, 10, 15,20 years ago. Example: Union contracts and the health benefits and pensions which have and will continue to increase. That is out of control. Looking across the country towns and cities are beginning the process of declaring bankruptcy. Why? Years ago those sitting in those very seats in the council chambers across this country gave the unions everything they wanted. No thought was given to what the consequences would be 10, 15 years later. Well here we are. Over the past 5 years personnel cuts where made in many departments(especially Public Works). Now things are looking ragged and the approach, because of less personnel, is to do stop gap work which will cost more down the road. It is time for someone, anyone to stand up and say spending has to stop and union contracts need to be redone to stop the increases in taxes to keep up with pension payouts and massive infrastructure repairs due to lack of proper care. You have a group who want to spend $30 million on the Shakespeare with no guarantee of success but know one questions the retirement payouts this town gives out. I work in the private sector and own my home. I have no pension plan and have to pay out co-pays for doctor visits. Is this current council a joke or is it that no one wants to tackle the real problem in this town? Of course its just easier to raise the taxes.
Mike July 17, 2012 at 07:19 PM
If we didn't have a small number of town employees causing the bulk of the lawsuits against the town, we might not be paying these taxes.
George E. Mulligan July 17, 2012 at 07:43 PM
DEM Chair Burturla/firm was paid millions by Republican controlled Town Councils & BoE. = BUY PARTISAN Increased TAXES / PROBLEMS used to JUSTIFY planned SOLUTIONS related to AVCO/AIRPORT/LONG BEACH WEST/ SHAKESPEARE/RAYMARK: BILLING MACHINE FODDER- BURTURLA/BERCHEM + kELLY/BISHOP/JACKSON + WILLINGER /BUCCI. JUDITH TERRACE water connections + SEWER FEES 200% over kinda justifiable supposed costs + possible selling DUMP + WATER TREATMENT PLANT. Once those were MAFIA type domains .. Republicans & Democrats minds in the gutter & fingers on our wallets. 26 of top 29 PENSIONS are MANAGMENT who are nominally UNION for CONTRACTUAL PURPOSES arranged in 1996 contract, which was the first year for BURTURLA/BERCHEM first year for Defined Benefit Pension Plan year AVCO started closing down, but made the list in 1992. I'm INDEPENDENT - I believe democrats & republican leaders are Traitors and Criminals, beside being BAD ACTORS & BUY PARTISAN fronts for the VILLAINS worse than BATMAN'S BANE - MITTS BAIN CAPITAL - OBAMA'S FEIGHN CAPITALISM - CHENEY/BUSH PAIN CAPITALISM Mr. Brill & Ms Darden I believe are (D)? I don't disagree with most of their points, in fact I agree with many points. My experience is central committee uses surrogates like them to stir the pot towards a planned usurpation. Terry Masters shut down completely from my entreatments/critiques. Jim Miron meekly contests evasively my retorts. jesse ventura: DemoCripps reBLOODlicans
George E. Mulligan July 17, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Defined Benefit Pension obligations are up from $ 2 million annually 1980s to $ 19 million annually = has built up to 4 mils in 2012 UNFUNDED MANDATE = 4 to 6 mils annually AVCO closed & SIKORSKY downsize by 50 % since 1960-1980s by themselves not including effects on busines = 2 mils annual lost Dianon+Mobil+Raymark/Contact Plating/Town Fair/other = over 1.5 mils Health Care approx cost $ 28 million annually = 6 mils * about 30 % is justifiable under 1999 parameters/private sector plans with 40% employee contributions at much lower rates. Attorney fee increase $ 1.5 million + Fire OT $ 2 m + Police OT $ 1.8 m = over 1.2 mil * about 20-30 % maybe justifiable compared to 1980s-1990s Budgets Health Care Town / Boe gross: Family $ 22,500 Couple $ 20,500 Individuals $ 18,500 Average> let's round it to $ 20,000 for over 800 Boe & 450 Town & 250 of the over 600 Retirees = 1500 likely on health plans @ $ 20,000 - 13% employee contribution ($ 2,600) = $ 17,400 $ 17,400 average tax payer cosr x 1,500 likely on Health care= Taxpayer cost $ 26,100,000 or 5.8 mils
Diane Wirtemburg July 18, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Thank you for this letter, my sentiments also. I feel as if the "powers that be" are out of touch with our reality of a struggling economy. How much do I have to stretch my grocery budget to pad your wallets?

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