The 2008-2009 General Fund budget (the year that the Great Recession, which had and continues to have a significant negative impact on our community, began) was $140 million of which education comprised 60 percent and general government comprised 40 percent.
In the 2013-2014 budget of $148 million, education comprises 62 percent and general government comprises 38 percent. Over this period of time the budget increased approximately $7.6 million with education increasing $7.5 million (8.9 percent increase which over this period included the effects of a 3 year contract for our teachers that provided for overall salary increases of at least 4.00 percent/year). General government increased $112 thousand (0.2 percent) over this period. In some years, budgets for general government decreased.
Given the challenging economic environment that the town and community has faced, and will continue to face, in my opinion, the town’s approach to facing these challenges has been responsible. It continues to place high value on providing a quality education for our students while attempting to control growth in general government in order to lessen the need for tax increases. If this approach means I have to pay for trash pick-up or contribute for fireworks on July 4th, I can live with that. Perhaps my expectations as to what level of service and benefits the town should provide to my family, given the challenges it faces, are less than some in the community believe should be provided to them. And if my opinion as to how the town is facing its challenges might have some view me as an ostrich, I can live with that too.
Jim Seichter, Wallingford
(Deadline is 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30)
We are writing this letter in support of Bob Williams, for re-election for City Council in Meriden, representing Area 4. We have known Bob for several years, as our neighbor and friend. We know personally how honest and hardworking he is in representing this area. Bob has made a positive impact while in office and will continue to do so. Vote for Bob Williams.