It has been an honor to serve the Town of Berlin as the Chairman of the Board of Finance. This being my final budget season, I reflect on the many accomplishments that our Board of Finance has achieved.
The BOF has created a transparent dialogue with the Board of Education, increased the “rainy day fund” balance by $3,590,158, is paying down an unfunded pension liability without increasing taxes, has given the residents a zero tax increase for the year 2020, and again, has proposed a zero tax increase for the second year in a row (which means that property taxes will not increase for 2021). Also, the BOF has purchased equipment that was desperately needed for our public works department, replaced police cruisers that were in dire need of repair, and updated the Senior Center, which has been ignored for years.
These are just a few of the BOF’s accomplishments.
As my position on the Board of Finance comes to an end, I ask myself where can I best serve the town. Is it another term on the BOF or a run for mayor?
The question is this: Is the town of Berlin moving forward with growth or is it remaining stagnant? Personally, I feel that the town is remaining stagnant. We cannot accept apartment complexes as the basis for lower property taxes. This will only increase your taxes because of the increase of town services to these residents.
If I decide to run for mayor, I will not post signs that promise to lower taxes. As a BOF member, I’ve done it. In order to achieve real tax relief we must bring real business development in this town. Berlin should be able to attract manufacturing firms, technology companies, and develop the golden triangle for these companies. This can be done; Berlin is the center of the state with rails and easy access to major highways. I would appoint local businesspeople to achieve this goal. By doing this, our taxes will remain low. I also have a plan to freeze senior citizens’ taxes.
Also, I will never agree to give a developer a tax abatement for 10 years. Let’s not forget the local businesses in town that did not receive tax credits; small Berlin businesses that are trying to stay afloat. The only tax abatement these businesses received were from the Board of Finance, which they will receive again this year.
As a Republican, I’ve always tried to follow the conservative values of the party, but I will never put the party ahead of what’s best for the town. If I decide to run for mayor, I can promise you this: I will roll up my sleeves and do the work that needs to be done to make sure that not one citizen is left behind.
In conclusion, the past year and a half has been a challenging time for everyone. We’ve come together as a community, but now it’s time to look forward, post-COVID-19. I see a brighter future for this town where we can increase our economic base, take care of our seniors and achieve tax relief for everyone.
I have criticized the direction of the town for the past three-and-a-half years. My philosophy is, if something’s not right, do something to make it better. So, I am seriously considering a run for mayor of a town that I deeply care about. My candidacy would focus on bringing back the spirit of Berlin where we come together as a town to make it a better place to live for everyone.