Day: April 23, 2018

Hello Bethel: Boucher Ends Gubernatorial Campaign

Press Release

(Hartford, April 18) State Senator and exploratory gubernatorial candidate Toni Boucher issued the following statement today:

“Eight months ago, I initiated an exploratory campaign for the office of governor.  As I’ve traveled around the state and met with so many wonderful people, I have been humbled by the outpouring of support I have been shown.  It has been a truly extraordinary and awe-inspiring experience. To those who volunteered their time, to those who generously provided financial support, and to my thousands of new friends across the state: please accept my sincerest, heartfelt gratitude.

“I love this state, and I have made a decision on how I can best serve my constituents and the people of Connecticut at this time.

“I am proud to announce today that I will run for re-election to the State Senate and, accordingly, will transition my exploratory committee and its donated funds to a campaign committee for the 26th State Senate District.

“The decision on how I can continue to best serve the people of our state has not been an easy one. It has been based on where I can do the most for my constituents, my party and the wonderful people of Connecticut. I believe that a lasting impact can be made in the General Assembly by attracting businesses; empowering the children of our state; bringing relief to the Connecticut commuter; and bringing a voice to the voiceless.

“The last eight months touring our state has deepened my belief that we have a tremendous amount of work to do in the legislature. The people and businesses of Connecticut are struggling. Their top concern is high costs. They feel the current leadership is failing by making Connecticut more unaffordable for them and their businesses.

“They are working hard to try to remain here, but they now find it may no longer be possible. My message of bringing fiscal stability and social inclusion to Connecticut has resonated throughout the state, and this will continue to be my priority.

“It has been an honor to serve in the state legislature. It is a rare privilege that I will never take for granted.  As Chief Deputy Majority leader, Chair of both the Senate Transportation and Education Committees and Vice-Chair of the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee, I know that victories lie ahead for the people of Connecticut.

“The November election will be one of the most important in memory and can change the direction of our state for the better for generations to come.  After winning equal representation in the state senate two years ago, Republicans are only one seat away from a majority. I’m committed, along with my Republican colleagues, to make this happen so we can pursue policies that put our state back on solid economic footing and ensure a prosperous future for everyone who calls our state home.  I will fight to make Connecticut a place where families and businesses can once again thrive in a climate of lower taxes, efficient government spending, improved highway and rail transportation and the opportunity for a quality education for all of our children.

“To my colleagues and friends in the legislature, I look forward to our work ahead bringing relief to taxpayers and crafting legislation comprised of responsible solutions that will reinvigorate our incredible state.

“Connecticut gave my family the opportunity to have a future when we emigrated from Italy when I was only five years old. I look forward to continuing to repay our state for the extraordinary opportunities given to me by serving in the Senate.”

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano issued the following statement:

“Toni is one of hardest working people I know. For decades, she has been a tireless advocate committed to improving education, transportation, and economic policies that create opportunities for all people. She is someone who never gives up and whose passion and energy is unmatched. The people of Connecticut, especially those in the 26th district, will continue to be well-served by Toni in the State Senate. She made an incredible candidate for governor, and I know no matter where she serves in state government she will always fight for her constituents and give them a voice in Hartford. She’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, to make tough decisions and to push for the policies we need to move Connecticut forward.”

Hello Bethel: Knickerbocker Urges YES Vote on Budgets

In a recent online discussion, First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker explained why he is urging voters to pass the revised town budget and capital plan. His remarks have been slightly edited and are being shared with his permission.

“The town and school budgets are not really separate. The school budget only covers the cost of staff and supplies. All other costs are in the town budget. These include all bond/debt payments, all utility costs, and all insurance costs. The majority of these belong to the schools. These costs cannot be separated out into two votes, so they all appear on the town side, and they cannot be reduced, no matter how many times the budget gets voted down.

“When the millions of dollars for the above-mentioned costs are taken out of consideration, the town is left trying to balance the entire budget just on one side, the town side. Virtually nothing can be reduced without sacrificing some service that directly affects residents. This is where we have the budgets for road repairs, park maintenance, snow plowing, and salting and sanding.

“[There has been] a great deal of conversation in just the past few weeks about our parks. Many were asking, quite fairly, why spend money on a turf field when our parks need better maintenance. That is a fair point, and the worst thing we could do is vote this budget down. History has shown that when the budgets get really tight, the parks department gets cut the most.

“[There was also] a discussion a few days ago about road maintenance. Again, if voters want to keep up the road work, please support this budget. The Board of Finance has [proposed removing] $100,000 from the road construction account in order to bring the budget number down. Further reductions only hurt the town’s ability to keep repairs and repaving on schedule.

“Finally, please remember that the goal of the Board of Finance is to reduce borrowing and to pay for more items with cash. There is a list of necessary items that the Board of Finance has removed from the “capital borrowing” part of the budget and put into the town operating budget. These include about $100,000 worth of fire equipment, hoses, breathing apparatus, repairs to buildings, etc. It includes replacement of a worn-out mower for the parks department. These are not “wants”; these are “needs”, and every budget defeat is going to knock one or more off the list. We have already had to take one snowplow truck off the capital list. The truck we need to replace is 24 years old, but the highway department will have to try to get one more year out of it.

“The budget you will see at the Town Meeting actually decreases the mill rate by a fraction (-0.01). The current mill rate is 32.88; the estimated new mill rate would be 32.87. Trying to force every line item in our town budget into an arbitrary number like the average rate of inflation impossible. The rate of inflation is an average. By definition, that means some components are higher and some are lower. In our case, the change in the school budget is lower than inflation, and the change in the town budget is higher this year for the reasons outlined above.

“Together they make up a budget that will support our entire community. Please attend the town meeting on the 24th, and please vote yes on the town and capital budgets.”

Hello Bethel: Town Budget and Capital Plan

The Bethel Board of Finance met on April 17 to reconsider the town budget and capital plan, both of which were voted down at the April 11 referendum. The education budget was not under discussion, as it had passed at referendum and is now locked in for Fiscal Year 2018-19. The following changes were approved by the board:

Town Budget

  • The road construction budget was reduced by $100,000, thus reducing the overall Highway Account to $2,071,113.
  • The capital nonrecurring budget was reduced by $225,000, thus reducing the overall Miscellaneous Charges and Transfers account to $776,029.
  • A revised Fiscal Year 2018-19 Town Budget totaling $29,536,242 was proposed.

Capital Plan

  • The proposed turf field in the amount of $979,000 was removed.
  • The Class 8 highway truck in the amount of $196,000 was removed.
  • A revised Fiscal Year 2018-19 Capital Plan totaling $1,140,000, which includes the BFD Engine 6 fire truck ($660,000), the high school HVAC ($250,000), and the Elgin street sweeper ($230,000), was proposed.

The majority of the Board voted in favor of reconvening a Town Meeting on April 24 to discuss these proposed changes. The meeting will be in the BHS Auditorium at 7:00 pm.