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Letter: No Alternative to Cutting Fairfield's Budget

'This means cutting staff positions and programs,' the letter-writer states.

Implementing the proposed property-tax increase would be counter-productive and continue, rather than address, long-term problems faced by the town. I am a strong supporter of the public schools, a registered democrat, and a believer in effective government. Unfortunately, sometimes, effectiveness requires doing less than we want in recognition of economic realities. Now is one of those times.

We need to cut the town budget. There is no alternative. This means cutting staff positions and programs. We should consider 2013 to be the high point in the number of people directly employed by the Town of Fairfield.

Regarding the Board of Education budget: Despite well-meaning claims, there is significant evidence in the public administration, applied policy, and management literatures to support the ability of school districts (and analogous organizations) to absorb major cuts in oversight and administrative positions -- e.g. non-teaching, district office positions -- without significantly impacting quality. Can it be advantageous to have these positions? Of course. But we do not have this luxury at the present time. Most of the office and supervisory positions in the Fairfield School system’s central office must be adjusted or eliminated so that the individuals can be assigned to existing teaching and administrative positions within the schools.

More broadly, there must be an immediate hiring freeze and then a contraction in the number of town personal. Staff cuts should occur through attrition with non-essential positions cut and people transferred to essential positions.

Equally important, nonessential capital expenditures must be postponed. This could include Penfield Pavilion, which could be leased to a private operator, and similar endeavors. Non-essential services need to be cut-back or made completely self-sustaining. Examples include raising or establishing fees for use of town recreational facilities, including ball-fields, golf-courses and recreational centers, so that the fees not only cover the staff and full-maintenance of the facilities but also a sufficient reserve fund. The town fireworks need to be postponed, at least for a couple of years.

Although I use and strongly support public libraries, given the current situation, the town subsidy for Pequot Library should be cut and the operating hours for the town libraries cut back during selected morning hours. Athletic teams must support more of their budgets. Volunteers, including from our able and eager senior community, and paid, part-time students should replace certain full-time positions in the libraries, recreational facilities, and after-school programs.

Property taxes in Fairfield have increased dramatically in the last 15 years, and far more than in most other towns. It is an unfortunate fact that Fairfield residents pay far more than is necessary for the services they receive, and far more than residents of other towns for similar services. This is not an indictment of the men and woman who work for the town. They work hard and do a good job. However, the structures within which they work are outdated. A coherent restructuring will take time but we must not wait to begin cutting back -- even in areas we value.

David Downie

mr magoo February 28, 2013 at 03:20 AM
you are a joke foolish fred, Mr Obama SAVED the USA economy. Maybe you're to stupid to have a large 401K, most Americans love what PRESIDENT Obama has done for their portfolios. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2013/02/27/stocks-wednesday-2-27/1950327/
Osborn Hiller February 28, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Ugggh. Anyway getting back to Fairfield: Is there really a solution here in the affordability vs. services argument. If the character of the town has changed, and newer residents.demand a certain level of services, then longer term residents are simply not going to be happy. I really don't know if there's a middle ground in that discussion.
Ajack February 28, 2013 at 03:42 AM
Yeah, that's what a town is all about, fireworks. Don't consider costs of personnel and hard costs also, isn't over spending a sign that we have 'made it in this world'? Isn't this what the whole thing is about? I want it and to hell with others? I am tired of hearing Dr. Title say ' We can't cut this or we can't cut that, that he just 'can't see it', says he who can't control his budget. I sure hope that isn't the case with his personal home life too. Then again, he's way over paid for what he does, so why am I not surprised.I guess he's skating by with his over a quarter million dollars a year salary and his perks and the 'other' benefits that he receives . Blind spending, we need this, we need that, I want, I want, I want. If you want something frivolous, and not necessary, then you fund it. Don't ask me to pay for it. I can do without fireworks, I think. I can do without a great deal of what this town deems 'necessary' , if it makes for an affordable living scenario. God forbid that we don;t have fireworks. Grow up people. That's why we are in this pickle right now that we are in and it won't get better. We have a bunch of spoiled 'kids' running the show.
Fred Ziffel February 28, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Mr.Magoo,I realize that someone like you who,with a high school diploma at best,might not understand the concept of something called debt. Trillions of it,run up by the manchild in chief. Maybe give the Midol some time to take effect before you post another fatuous post,and make a complete fool of yourself.
Fred Ziffel February 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM
You are getting owned,Mr.Magoo!
Igor February 28, 2013 at 11:35 AM
Eleanor I feel exactly like you do. I'm in the same situation.
Joeseph Biff February 28, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Fairfield is reaching a "tipping point". The union contracts,fire dept.promotion scam,out of control school spending,etc. are making the town unaffordable for a lot of people.Young families will look elswhere for a more affordable place to raise their children.Senoirs on fixed incomes are going to leave. A 6.4 % tax increase in this troubled economy with a lot of folks struggling is unconscionable.
Ajack February 28, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Yet, the P & Z will gentrify your neighborhood, allowing monstrosity style homes to over shadow the normal sized houses in the neighborhood and IMPACTING the tax assessments of the natives, the normal homegrown people of this town. I've said it before, when this is done, your property becomes, almost overnight, valued in the real market solely for the land. Your dwelling is worth crop. The town , however, will continue to value your dwelling as if it's value and it's worth are fair market valued. . This is a little known and discussed factor about P&Z and our zoning laws. The town works actively to destroy neighborhoods. Are there pay offs made, are there kickbacks that the public never sees? No one will ever know. I am sure , if that is the case, that everyone is covered here and it's done in such a manner that the public will never see the true workings of this department. If it benefits the town for tax collection, they will endorse it. . WHY? IT'S ALL ABOUT EXPANDING THE TAX BASE so that they in government can spend more. Subtle and conniving people , these Liberal minded public servants , who know better than you ,who visually sneer down their noses at anyone who challenges what they do. CUT THE BUDGET! Maybe the owners of the restaurant aren't playing by the rules? Really, two parking spaces?
Ajack February 28, 2013 at 01:25 PM
And yet, you talk to firemen and policemen who are retired and they can't see what they are doing wrong to the system. For all that hard work. Yeah right. Why would they? I seriously can not and will not befriend a cop or a firefighter in this town or any administrative person either for that matter. They are on the take. That's why they got into the business of government in the first place. PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS are the bane of this town and will destroy it. They have the tax payer by the throat. Want to do something, get rid of them . Make them illegal as they once were and see how quickly your tax costs will come down. There is no 'fair' negotiating with any of the unions. Imagine if all PRIVATE business had unions to deal with. YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD ANYTHING. You don't think that this might be the next step? Legally mandating all workers, even private sector ones, to be in unions? The country, as the government unions have already started, would come to a standstill. Are we becoming the USSA? We are becoming the very thing that we fought against, a new version of the Soviet UNION.It's as if the world globalists, the people who have been exploiting the world for thousands of years, have set their sites on the U.S.A. this time. Didn't work in RUSSIA, try it here. China seems to be working OK (for a few). Very slowly and insidiously being implemented. Little bit here, little bit there. Hardly noticed, hardly felt. UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE!!!! Wake up people.
mark February 28, 2013 at 03:08 PM
The people in office now have the guts they are pissing you off right now
mark February 28, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Joseph Biff they don't care, same thing happening New York, the working class can't afford to live there anymore, ah but where are they moving to Ct. Jersey
Joeseph Biff February 28, 2013 at 03:57 PM
It was soooooo comforting to hear our compassionate selectman on the phone with his code red alerts during the recent blizzard."Be safe" "Stay warm" .Yea right,as I lay on another sweater so I can keep my heating bill down.Gee,he really cares about me! That's why he's proposing a 6.4% tax increase.Better buy a few more sweaters.This guy stinks!
sadbuttrue February 28, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Dr. Title doesn't have a car allowance
Ajack February 28, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Joseph, great point. he gets his and you pay for it. Betcha his house has the thermostat set at 72 degrees.
R. Ludlowe February 28, 2013 at 04:39 PM
riiiiight, Fred. Before Obama came to office there was no debt, right? Maybe even a surplus? The Bush administration left him with what... a perfect economy? He didn't run it up, He inherited it from the original "man child" in office. let's all be honest.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 28, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Ludlowe, CBS News disagrees with you. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57400369-503544/national-debt-has-increased-more-under-obama-than-under-bush/ (CBS News) The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama's three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency. The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office. The latest posting from the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury Department shows the National Debt now stands at $15.566 trillion. It was $10.626 trillion on President Bush's last day in office, which coincided with President Obama's first day. The National Debt also now exceeds 100% of the nation's Gross Domestic Product, the total value of goods and services. Mr. Obama has been quick to blame his predecessor for the soaring Debt, saying Mr. Bush paid for two wars and a Medicare prescription drug program with borrowed funds. --------------------- Ouch, Ludlowe. Did that leave a mark?
maryHelen Melnick February 28, 2013 at 09:38 PM
R. Ludlowe: That's a good idea. I think private clubs are taxed on the building but not the land. They need to be taxed on the land too.
R. Ludlowe February 28, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Or...lets make the Fairfield Beach Club sponsor the fireworks!
R. Ludlowe February 28, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Hey Borshcht, you'd have to try alot harder than that to leave a mark. Don't worry about me. As usual you only read what you want. My point was that he was handed an economy that already stinks. the fact that it continued to run up under Obama is directly contributed to what Bush left him with. You know, those two wars that Daddy Bush wanted so bad? Yeah those. Your last sentence lays it out straight. Maybe you weren't aware, but when a new president takes over,they don't actually restart the debt counter at $0. I've got some good "Economics 101" and "The US Economy for Dummies" books at home if you need them.
Uncle Jeb February 28, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Mr.Ludlowe,I agree with you on one point. Mr.Bush did spend way too much, but nothing like the arrogant peacock who soils the oval office as we speak. The war in Iraq was a huge mistake,but unlike you,I don't immediately sport wood at the mere mention of Dear Leaders"name.
Miss Jane February 28, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Hey Ludlowe,I guess a G.E.D. doesn't go too far these days,eh?.Please,pray tell,was the second war that daddy Bush wanted so bad? While we are at it, Mr.Newton,what was the first? Wasn't it that bad man in Iraq who started the first? Pull your leg warmers up Ludlowe,you're losing your train of thought.
Brian March 01, 2013 at 12:05 AM
A GED can go farther than you may think these days.
Miss Jane March 01, 2013 at 12:48 AM
I take it you would know,eh Brian? Anyways, I have some leaves I need to deal with in my yard.Saturday morning o.k.?
Ajack March 02, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Brian, don't even listen to MISSED Jane. New ploy by this town is to force kids that might cost the town a few dollars more to educate ( for various and sundry reasons), to force them out of the school system. The've been doing this for years. Seems like the powers that be, our blessed administrators, are the 'hit' men for this 'policy'. Had a neighbor, whose son didn't fit the profile for a 'good' Fairfield student. He is a bit quirky and not your stellar 'Fairfield ' cream of the crop kid. He probably hurt the average or testing data somehow that would help either Special Education or the regular school system garner more money . They worked his parents like hell and finally drove him out a year early. This boy needed help.The school system drove him out of the system, rather than doing what they should be doing...educating him. He finally got his GED. Nice job Andrea and Fairfield Board of Education.This happens all the time in this town. It's the culling of the weak and the infirm,nazish, the sick and kids with the most needs from the Fairfield School System to 'preserve the money for what ?? anyone..anyone.. why for THEMSELVES, their salaries and bonuses, what else. EDUCATIONAL EUGENICS as practiced by Andrea Leonardi, as sanctioned by Dr. Title and as tacitly approved by our famously independently minded Board of Education. That's what's going on in this town. They been doing it for years. Ugly fact. A lot worse now that budgets are being scrutinized a lot harder.
Ajack March 02, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Eleanor, your take on this is correct. You will never hear them publicly say this, at least not a lot of them. They think it. But in their hearts, that's what is really going on in Fairfield . A 'new' class of people and I use the term 'class' loosely, has invaded our community. They look at the average citizen with disdain and contempt. You don't belong here anymore...that's what the head of the Fairfield PTA was heard to say at a meeting at Fairfield Woods Middle school a while back. No one challenged her on it not a single sole.........
iamspartacus March 03, 2013 at 01:56 AM
move and don't let the door hit you
Ajack March 03, 2013 at 11:40 AM
I'm leaving for a while for sunny Arizona, folks , so enjoy the cold weather. Be back in about two weeks to visit my kids.And I won;t let the door hit me in the back as I leave. I'm outta here for a while. I do not miss this place after all that I have seen here.
Meat March 05, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Nailed it...Well said..well spoken! Property Taxes are up 120% in most areas since 2000. Where does it end! There will not be a town of Fairfield as most residents are being priced out of town! Open your eyes people!
FairfieldResident March 16, 2013 at 09:00 PM
I'm a young professional, no kids yet, moved to Fairfield few years ago in hopes to live here for a while. But taxes are keep going up and my salary is not ! I'm sick of it, time to move out, bye bye Fairfield !
TJC March 16, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Seeya!

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