MERIDEN — A City Council resolution that would give federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown more time to pay their property taxes was referred to the council’s Finance Committee Tuesday night.
The Finance Committee, which is expected to discuss the resolution at its next meeting on Jan. 29, will establish parameters for the tax deferment program.
Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday signed an emergency relief package for furloughed federal employees, including language that allows municipalities to defer property tax payments for those affected.
Council Majority Leader David Lowell said while he doesn’t know how many Meriden residents are impacted by the shutdown, “it certainly seems like the right thing to do in this circumstance.”
The City Council resolution was put forth by Mayor Kevin Scarpati, Deputy Mayor Michael Cardona, and Lowell.
A few residents voiced objections to the resolution during a public comment period at Tuesday’s meeting, including resident Joe Vollano, a federal employee who said he has not been getting paid during the shutdown despite continuing to work. Vollano, a former Republican City Council candidate, said councilors were “pandering to federal employees” and called the resolution an “election-year stunt.”
“We knew the risk when we took our job...We knew we could be shut down at any time,” Vollano said of federal employees. “I understand that I will get my money back when the government reopens. We prepare for things like this. What makes a federal employee any different than any other citizen in this city? ...We don’t need your sympathy and we definitely don’t need your deferment.”
Vollano said he, like many homeowners, pays his property taxes through his mortgage.
“My mortgage company will not turn around and tell me I don’t have to pay it,” said Vollano, who works for the USDA as a regulatory compliance specialist overseeing Connecticut’s egg farms.
One resident, Gina Manning, spoke in support of the resolution, saying she knows families who have been financially affected by the shutdown.
“Most American families cannot go without paycheck after paycheck,” Manning said.
In other business, City Manager Tim Coon said during his city manager report that the recent winter storm cost the city a total of $155,000, including labor and materials.
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