In a recent op-ed in The Berlin Citizen I mentioned that campaign rhetoric from my opponent appears to either misrepresent the facts or not recognize the facts regarding progress in town on a variety of projects. Further, my opponent has also just fabricated facts regarding several topics. The following will correct, for the record, the fabrications and misrepresentations of facts as stated in The Citizen by Mr. Lomaglio.
The first misrepresentation is regarding the Senior/Community Center project. This project has been working its way through the process since 2018. There were a few delays due to the pandemic, but the project is on track. The Town Council recently created an advisory group to study the conceptual plan. This group will send its recommendations back to the council, at which time, the council will send a plan to referendum for the voters to decide on the project. As far as I know, this project is further along than any past attempt to build a Senior/Community Center.
At a council meeting on Sept. 4, 2018, the council voted to accept and apply for the only grant that we received from the State of Connecticut for the Senior/Community Center project. The grant was in the amount of $750,000 and is what we are using to develop the plans for the center. No other funding was ever offered to Berlin for this project. I had requested additional funding from the former Speaker of the House on several occasions but never was offered any.
A second fabrication regarding use of American Recovery Act funds to enhance and improve exteriors of buildings and storefronts on Farmington Ave. is in direct conflict with the advice received at a joint meeting of the Town Council and the Board of Finance on Sept. 16, 2021. The above question was asked and answered by Finance Director Kevin Delaney. The answer was: No, that was not an appropriate use of the funding. My opponent was present at the above meeting.
Finally, there has been many fabrications regarding the support of the Board of Education. We have funded the BOE in the last three years with increases over 3%. Our BOE budget is just over 60% of our total town budget, which puts our funding well above that in several surrounding towns. My opponent mentions I wanted to close schools. Of course, as most residents know – certainly the former chair of the Board of Finance should know – that a decision to close a school is up to the BOE. Neither I nor the Town Council have any control over that decision. Also, for the record, I have never advocated for closing any schools in Berlin. Again, a complete fabrication.
I thank The Berlin Citizen for allowing me to correct some of the misleading statements and fabrications made by my opponent.
Mark Kaczynski is running for relection as Mayor.