Mythbusters: “Tax Rate Reduction Reintroduction”


Yes, that’s double talk the Democratic Town Council used in their ad on page 40 of October’s Wolcott Community News. Actaully it the sixth item in a list of pledges that Democratic candidates promise to deliver if they are elected next Tuesday. That item reads:

“Reintroduce Our Tax Rate Reduction (Which was rejected by Council Republicans & Tom Dunn’s Independents 6/2/2009)”

What they are referring to is a budget proposal introduced by Councilmen Gentile and Santagotta to cut Mayor Dunn’s proposed budget by $73,000. The minutes from that meeting show that Republicans generally favored the Mayor’s budget as presented, which included a $1,100,000 reduction from last year’s budget. The motion was defeated 5-4 by Republicans and Independents.

A detailed summary of the Democrats’ proposal shows that they wanted to cut four line items that budgeted for fuel costs, police cruisers, reductions in services to senior citizens, and significant reductions in road paving and snow plowing. They also wanted a lower tax collection rate of 97.33% instead of 97.5% If their proposal passed, the mill rate could have been reduced by 0.01 mills. This would average out to be a $1.42 reduction for homeowners in Wolcott.

At the time the budget was being presented, gas was rising upwards until reaching its highest level this year. But, one year ago it was over $4.00 a gallon. Its incomprehensible why Democrats would propose reducing the budget for these costs with such a recent memory. One of these reductions would have meant less money available to fuel the senior citizen bus. Another would have cut money available for public works trucks during snow storms.

Proposed reductions at the police department would have impacted the maintanance budget for cruisers. No cruisers were purchased last year so that the Town could try squeezing an extra year of use from some older cars. The result was a shortage of cruisers at times. In September of this year, Wolcott signed a contract for new cruisers.

The proposal to reduce the paving by $10,000 was justified by comments that it wasn’t entirely spent last year. For some reason Democrats forgot that the Council unanimously approved transfering that $10,000 from paving to snow plowing. Last year’s winter had an average snowfall, but it was spread out over more storms than expected. Town crews need to be called out even if an inch or two of snow falls to make sure the streets are safe for travel. Other towns were in similar situations.

Given these significant cuts in relation to the return in a very minor tax decrease, voters shouuld question the wisdom of the Democrats “pofessional financial planning” they claim to have in their ad. In contrast, Mayor Dunn held negotiations with Town employees to reach an agreement to freeze wages in a difficult economic year. Republican Councilman O’Brien also attempted to get similar agreements from the education department. The result there was the Board of Education reaching savings through a furlough day.


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