OPINION: Wallingford can pass the test

OPINION: Wallingford can pass the test

Editor's note: Mayoral and council candidates were invited to submit columns about their campaigns.

We are living in turbulent, stressful times. An employee at a Department of Motor Vehicles writes that it was just another day at DMV. She accompanied a woman on her driving test when a police car with sirens wailing and lights flashing appeared in the rearview mirror. They pulled over and stopped. “Was I speeding?” the driver asked the police officer. “No,” he replied. “You are driving a stolen vehicle.” The driver turned to the DMV employee, smiled hesitantly, and asked, “Does this mean I failed my test?” We are being tested as individuals, businesses, social programs and government services on a daily basis. The economy in the State of Connecticut is not supporting, is not providing the new revenue, to drive governmental services in new or expanded directions. There is a significant challenge to funding existing programs. It is important that the local government services not become a vehicle we don’t and can’t own. We must make sure that we pass each test we take. We do not have the luxury of failing the affordability test. Certain principles are vital to our success. First, we should provide dependable, reliable, essential services. Second, the cost of said services should not exceed our ability to pay for them. We must proceed by carefully balancing our interest in new and even old programs by the availability of money to fund them. The uncertainties created by the problems evident in State of Connecticut finances reverberate through Wallingford’s budget. A potential loss of $14 million in state money (3.5 mills in local taxes) will have a substantial impact on local services. Our challenge is to plan responsibly for less revenue and reduced expenditures. The taxable property Grand List of Wallingford is not significantly increasing and this offers little relief for revenue shortages. Our residential and business property owners are not in a position to absorb substantial tax increases. What should we do? We will work together, sacrifice when necessary, and adapt to new economic and fiscal realities. What about our driver? The legal license plate on the car had been stolen and a stolen plate had been affixed to the car. The car’s vehicle identification number became the shining star of truth. And yes, the driver, after some delay, passed the test. Working together, our town, its residents and businesses, will pass our test as well.

Republican incumbent William W. Dickinson Jr. is maoyor of Wallingford.

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