What about the taxpayers?
In the Board of Education budget battles, Council Minority Leader Dan Brunet makes perceptive, relevant points, that wage raises of 2.9 percent for 2 years are not sustainable, other unions have not exceeded 2 percent and Meriden is among bottom 10 percent in median income.
Board of Education President Robert Kosienski Jr. stated the 8.55 percent 3-year contract is a good one for both sides, because it takes into account city’s ability to pay. Question: what objective criteria is being taken into account “city’s” i.e. “taxpayer’s” ability to pay?
Here is a novel idea: make this 3 sides, a triangle, to include us taxpayers who pay the bills. Ability to pay? Didn’t City Council vote for a lower-cost renovation of our great library, because of price tag, even though Library Building Review Committee voted to recommend higher renovation, and hasn’t the city been unable to come to an agreement for a new banquet facility for our signature Hunter Golf Course, because of cost? Ability to pay? Meriden mill rate is 40.86; Middletown 36.00; Southington 30.64; Wallingford 29.19.
We do not live in Fairfield County, so any list of 38 settlements approved for teachers in Connecticut needs to be scrutinized for city’s median income. Median income for Meriden is $57,350; Middletown $63,914; Wallingford $77,128; Southington $90,796. Example: Meriden teachers step 5 wages for year 2019-2020 with a B.A. is $54,124; Southington $53,815; Middletown $52,056; Wallingford $56,430.
Meriden is among lowest in median income, yet with much lower median income, as much as $20,000 to $30,000 less, are paying teachers very close to or higher wages compared to listed cities.
It is “tone-deaf” unconscionable that some elected officials appear to be beholden to special interest groups and ignore their fiduciary responsibilities to the voters who elected them.
Henry J. Krupa Jr., Meriden We will do our best
I’d like to thank the voters of Wallingford for the opportunity to serve on their Town Council for another two year term. I’d also like to thank my fellow councilors for the confidence and support of my leadership. I do not take lightly the importance and responsibility associated with these positions. Nonetheless, I am very grateful.
The coming term looks to be as challenging as the others in the recent past. If we all keep at the forefront of our minds that which is in the best interests of the community, our work should be easy. That does not always seem to be the case. Nonetheless, I am confident that we will do our best.
I look forward to working with Mayor Dickinson, the Town Council, the Board of Education, and the people of Wallingford to continue this town on its promising path. Thank you!
Vinny Cervoni, Wallingford
The writer is chairman of the Wallingford Town Council.