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May 6, 2012

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Colchester, CT

Colchester CT BOF/BOE Refuse to Cut Mil Rate Despite Mand...

Colchester CT -- Big spenders on the town and school side simply refused to hear the Vote No 2:1 mandate by taxpayers May 8th to not increase the mil rate by 3-4 points. Town officials put forth less than $675,000 in reductions of their big spending plan of over $51 million this week when they met at a Special Meetings of the Board of Finance on three consecutive nights May 14-16th. Proposed reductions in the planned increased spending would be little more than a half mil reduction from what they are requesting taxpayers to support and pay, a near 4 mil increase that would still bring the mil rate to over 29 and nearing 30. That is $29 for every $1000 taxed in town or 2.9%. "It is too much, especially when compounded annually," contend the majority of those who voted. "It is weird," said Democrat Tearice Peters about the reluctance of the Boards of Finance and Education to listen to the voters' mandate and reduce spending. "Officials will just have to listen because we cannot afford such a big tax hike and mil increase," said Joyce Maine. Maine also questioned the nonsensical reduction of $3000 from the food bank coordinator, which she sees as an emotional hot button cut made for effect from a $51 million budget. The town has been through the planned budget "cuts" year after year which are not cuts at all but slight reductions in proposed increases in spending. Although some have accused the Republican First Selectman for not stopping the huge mil rate increase, it is Democrat appointed department heads from the school side to the town side that have put forth the budgets. Schuster unliuke other First Selectmen, did not force departments to make cuts. Nancy Bray, a Democrat elected as Town Clerk, simply refused to cut any of her staff. She said it was "political. " The Colcehster CT townspeople are now aware that the same old line items are put up to get constituents to say "oh no don't cut THAT," such as Project Oceanography on the school side or the library staff expenses. Little is said of the millions spent on salaries and raises year after year that are unsustainable in a town with declining enrolments. Staff in town hall has steadily increased in the last 20 years. Department heads are usually professionals with advanced degrees who demand higher wages. Some believe there is no need for some many layers of administrators in the building, P&Z, schools, recreation, and finance departments. Even if they are shared between the town and schools, they each demand closeto $100,000 when benefits and overhead is counted. Others said that they want to hire even more professional staff and that is the cause of the annual increases. This is the personal opinion of the author.  (May 16, 2012 | post #1)

Colchester, CT

Colchester CT Property Tax 29.63 Mil Rate is 15% increase...

Taxes and jobs are key issues on the minds of voters in Colchester CT. With a current mil rate of 25.8 for 2011-2012 slated to increase to 29.63 mils for 2012-2013, town officials proposed a propertyt tax hike of almost 4 mils, a 15% mil rate increase. The basis for this hike was that property values have decreased; but, vehicle values and personal property values -- a significant part of Colchester CT's $1+ billion Grand List -- have not. A near 30 mil rate leaves businesses and homeowners with vehicles facing significant tax increases that will prevent job creation in the private sector. Even those whose property values declined can see tax increases on top of reduced home equity. It makes no sense. It is not a benefit to residents or taxpayers to increase property taxes in light of declining home values and increased costs of motor vehicles. Despite pleas by various taxpayers not to "play the emotional card," the town put forth cuts in ridiculously small amounts such as a $3000 cut in the social services for managing the food bank. "With a $51 million budget, cutting the food bank by $3000 is absurd," said Joyce Maine, one of the voters who oppose the budget. This far, the town has only suggested $600,000 in reduced spending in the proposed $51 million in spending, while the increased spending obver last year is significant. With bonding, the town was seeking $6 million more over last year. People would not need the food bank in such increasing numbers if they were not losing their jobs daily. When you over tax people who create jobs, they invest their assets in less volatile sectors and lay people off. Property taxes above 19 are not appealing to employers. With Colchester nearing 30, it is ridiculous to think anyone would come here to start a business that has lots of equipment such as medical or advanced manufacturing, yet that is what our community needs most in terms of jobs. Special Meetings have been called for Tuesday May 15th and Wednesday May 16th. The Board of Finance is allowing citizens to comment before and after its own discussions each evening. By Thursday, they plan to send a revised Budget to the Board of Selectman and then on to the Town Meeting and new Referendum. In the meanwhile, town officials stated they believe taxpapers "do not understand revaluation." With a local population with more computers per capita and a higher concentration of technical and engineering personnel from major companies in the region who live in Colchester, it is a specious argument. Colchester is a bedroom community with over 20% of its population who regularly votes in local referenda. Many of those people hold advanced degrees.  (May 15, 2012 | post #1)

US Politics

Colchester CT Special Meetings on Budget Tonight &Tuesday...

"Possible action on the 2012-2013 Colchester CT Budget" is the topic of the Board of Finance posted Special Agenda for the Special Meetings for tonight in COLCHESTER CT TOWN HALL 128 Norwich Avenue at 7 PM MONDAY, TUESDAY, and WEDNESAY MAY 14th - 16th. Yes, people can speak out at the meetings as there are Citizens comments allowed before and after. But there has been no publicity to date, and it makes one wonder if another alleged email went out urging a yes vote -- as should not ever have gone out from BOE members or others who failed to file an Exemption or a notice of a CAP in the days before the May 8th referendum -- those who have roles as parents on graduation activities are NOT exempt from filing requirements if they sit on town boards. Some may be precluded from taking a stand if they have input into the proposed budget. If you are asking for more money for boards as an elected official, you cannot advocate a yes vote. WHY NOT? Because you are elected or appointed as a management team member held to protect the fiduciary interests of taxpapeyers not staff. The main VOTE NO message of May 8th was a 2:1 mandate to cut the proposed mil rate increase and stop spending money taxpapers can ill afford until we are all fully employed and solvent again. A fiduciary responsibility of ALL town officials is to represent the best interests of our townspeople and consider the ability of all taxpayers to pay FAIR and equitable taxes. The recent past, in my opinion, has been skewed to favor those with the ability to pay. This is the personal opinion of the writer.  (May 14, 2012 | post #1)

Colchester, CT

Stop the Taxation Madness Colchester CT Faces 15% Tax Hi...

Thank you for voting NO to increased spending in Colchester CT today May 8th. Please note that the 3.7 mil rate increase will trigger a 15% increase on all taxable real wealth... that is too high to sustain. Please vote NO across the board as the fiscally responsible thing to do. The fact that Colchester house values declined this year when the rest of the nation is slowly inching back up is not a good sign for Colchester CT 06415. I believe it is due to a lack of dialogue among people who disagree and only those who agree are making the decisions unilaterally. We did not run competitive campaigns; everyone got elected who ran on both tickets except for the top of the slate. We do not have two sets of competing ideas among Republicans and Democrats, thus we do not serve Independents with a choice of ideas. We really have to get back to a fully aware and engaged two-party system locally. Please start by voting NO to the five spending questions on the Colchester Tax Ballot today May 8, 2012 from 6 am to 8 PM at Town Hall 128 Norwich Avenue Colchester CT 06415. Then please work to nominate and elect people of opposing points of views so we do not have a defacto dictatorship.  (May 8, 2012 | post #3)

Colchester, CT

Stop the Taxation Madness Colchester CT Faces 15% Tax Hi...

Colchester CT residents, business owners, and anyone who is taxed by the Colchester CT tax offices are urged to vote NO across the board to a nearly 4 mil or 15% property and vehicle tax increase that will bring the rate to a whopping 29.63 mil rate for the 2012-2013 tax year. That is $29.63 on every $1000 of vehicle or property value ranging from private property to business assets. A $100,000 assessed house would be taxed at $2963 while the median assessment of $200,000 would face a $5926 annual tax bill compounded by future increases. "These are inner city rates for a tiny community of less than 10,000 households and only 3200 public school students. It is wrong." "Many residents are not even aware they can vote on the proposed tax rate each year. Instead they get sticker shock in July when bills arrive in the mail," Lehtinen said. Republican Merja H. Lehtinen of Colchester filed exemption papers on behalf of a group called Fiscal Conservatives, including Republican Joyce Maine and Democrat Tearice Peters, who are urging the Colchester CT community to stop the tax madness and vote NO to 15% tax increases. The status means the group intends to organize to oppose the tax hike in Colchester CT on May 8th but will not spend more than $1000 in funds or in kind services to do so. "These taxes are so high they make the 6% proposal a few years ago pale in comparison and look like milk toast. It is sheer greed driving this increase. With all the difficult times our residents have faced in the recent past, this is unconscionable. We love our home town, value a good education and intend to lead Colchester CT back into the kind, reasonable good New England place to live it has been for hundreds of years for all types of people, not just the very wealthy. This tax hike will preclude parents from saving for college tuition and eat other people's food allocations, " said Lehtinen. The budget vote is Tuesday May 8th from 6 am to 8 pm at Town Hall 127 Norwich Avenue in Colchester CT 06415. Fiscal Conservatives urges voters to have courage to vote NO across the ballot.  (May 6, 2012 | post #1)

Colchester, CT

Colchester CT Property Taxes to Increase by 6%

Colchester CT Property and Vehicle Taxes to Increase by 15% May 8th 2012 UNLESS VOTERS SAY and VOTE NO TUESDAYAT TOWN HALL. Vote NO NO NO NO NO to five questions May 8th 2012. Tax rate is unsustainable and taxpayers cannot afford 29.63 mils...  (May 6, 2012 | post #2)

Colchester, CT

Colchester Property TAxes to Rise 15% and Mil Rate Nears ...

Colchester residents were startled to learn that the town put forth a high 29.63 mil rate for the 2012-2013 Proposed Budget. It goes to public vote on May 8th from 6 am to 8 pm at town hall. All citizens and residents whether they own land or vehicles or not, and non-residents who own any property taxed in Colchester, may vote May 8th even if not registered for the general elections as taxation laws require anyone who pays taxes must be able to vote on the tax rates regardless of age or status. With property values declining and taxes rising, a nearly 4 mil rate increase is a lose-lose for those whose major investments is their home. Furthermore, it puts the elderly and modest income residents on notice that their needs are not a priority. A 30 mil rate is a disincentive for businesses as well who must pay nearly 3% on all taxable property including businesses and equipment. Town officials assured residents who typically fight the budget that there would be a reasonable and only slight increase. Instead, it is the highest increase proposed in over 20 years. Property owners fought back immediately by forming a group called Fiscal Conservatives to organize notices to residents and property owners they will once again face 30-mil tax rates in the near future or about 3% of value. The group is urging all voters to vote the $51 million dollar budget down on May 8th with NO across the board at the polls in Town Hall 127 Norwich Avenue Colchester CT 06415. # # #  (May 6, 2012 | post #1)

Colchester, CT

There are much higher priorities than Route 11

We simply should not have a toll on Route 11 if it is ever completed. It would cause local traffic and passersby to use Route 85, already unsafe between Colchester and Waterford from a narrow road with people speeding. Colchester PROPERTY AND VEHICLE TAXES are slated to rise 15% with a 29.63 mil rate -- unless good, courageous people vote NO across the board. Not the time to spend like drunk soldiers when our property values are on a decline across town. A tax hike of nearly 4 mils is reprehensible. It hurts the elderly and poor who will be forced from their own homes they have lived in for most of their lives. For shame! VOTE NO May 8th at Town Hall from 6 AM to 8 PM. All districts of town vote at Town Hall 127 Norwich Avenue for the bloated $51 million budget. Seems like a lot for maybe 9,000 houses and only 3200 schoool children....  (May 6, 2012 | post #1)