OPINION: Serving all residents of Wallingford

OPINION: Serving all residents of Wallingford

As we close in on election- day, I would like to congratulate all our Council and Board of Education candidates running in this year’s municipal election. While we may have opposing points of views on what is best for Wallingford, you should all be commended for having the courage to step up and place your names on the ballot.

As many of you who follow local politics know, I changed my party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated almost two years ago. I did so willingly and without malice toward any of my friends who are registered Democrats. I changed my political affiliation basically because I’m just not the type of person that likes to be told what positions to take and who to support. My main interest has always been serving all the residents of Wallingford and doing this by working together with the mayor and my council colleagues, regardless of their party affiliation.

On November 7, registered voters will have an opportunity to elect nine of fourteen candidates running for Town Council. Please consider making me one of your Town Council choices. In the eight years I have represented you, I have supported a challenging school system, a fully staffed Police and Fire Department, and the best Emergency 911 care in Connecticut. I know from personal experience just how good our public safety is as I have worked three shifts with the Fire Department and two with the Police Department. I also care about how your money is spent and support financial accountability.

There is a “perception” some candidates have that Wallingford has a $29 million surplus account. Let me “Bust the Myth” on that. As of 6/30/16, Wallingford had a Fund Balance (Rainy Day) account of 29,250,000.00 dollars. Now, let’s start deducting and see how much is “actually” unallocated:

•$126 Thousand - Nonspendable Fund Balance – represents prepaid amounts expended upon utilization such as gasoline and fuel

•$1.517 Million is categorized as Committed Fund Balance which represents amounts approved in prior year’s budgets that were approved as appropriations in force. This number actually represents the 1percent the school system may carry over from year to year

•$4.2 Million is included in the Assigned Fund Balance and represents funds applied to the next year’s budget. Basically, this is “rainy day” money applied to offset a larger tax increase for residents. In the 2016/17 budget it offset a 1 mill increase which equates to 3.6 percent more than the adopted tax increae

•$898 Thousand is part of the Assigned Fund Balance which represents general government and education purchase orders that were not yet complete when we closed the books in 2016

•$15.827 Million remains in the Unassigned Fund Balance Account for credit rating purposes

This leaves us a balance of $6.682 Million that is currently “unallocated” Keep in mind we may need to fund a portion of the teachers pension which would reduce this total by $2.5 million leaving us $4,182 million unallocated. Myth Busted!

As a lifelong Wallingford resident and councilor, I care about you, your family and our town. If I am re-elected I will continue to be responsible and accountable. Please consider supporting me, unaffiliated (petitioning) Town Councilor John Sullivan on November 7. “This Irishman Fights for YOU.”

Incumbent John Sullivan is a Wallingford town councilor.

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