Tetreau: ‘Committed to Keeping Fairfield Best Value in State’

Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau.
Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau.

Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau delivered his 2014 State of the Town Address at Monday’s RTM meeting, looking back at the accomplishments of the past year and the goals of 2014.

Tetreau shared his vision for Fairfield and his view of what the town is, and has become. He described Fairfield as the following:

“We are a family friendly and neighborhood oriented community that values our top quality School System. We value living in a safe and secure community.

We work diligently on providing opportunities for our Seniors to be able to afford to stay in town and to have plenty of activities & services to make them want to stay here.

We have a vibrant local economy. We are a destination for Culture, the Arts, Dining, Entertainment and shopping for the region.”

He applauded the school system, calling it one of the primary reasons Fairfield homes maintain and grow in value. He vowed that the town is committed to maintaining Fairfield as a top performing school district and preparing its students for the future.

“We have invested heavily in new and improved school facilities,” he said. “Our school system has been a cornerstone in supporting premium property values by attracting buyers to our town.”

Tetreau sited the steps the town has taken towards Energy Conservation and Sustainability, including installing over 200 LED lights at the Downtown and Southport train stations and improving electric controls in Independence Hall with an estimated annual savings of $75,000.

“I do want to repeat as I have said in the past - As First Selectman, it is my intention to serve all the people of our town, from the students who need a safe environment for an excellent education, to the seniors on fixed incomes who wish to stay here, to the taxpayers who want quality service and reasonable taxes,” he said. “I am committed to keeping Fairfield as the best value in our State for residents and businesses.”

To read the full text, click the PDF in the photo box above. 

Igor January 30, 2014 at 06:24 PM
Matt do we really need a climbing wall? Matt do we need a pool table? Do we need a person in charge of a school system making close to 300K? Along with the assistants and secretaries? What senior tax relief? If there is one no one has told me about it.
Matt Hutzelmann January 30, 2014 at 06:38 PM
Igor, I've seen one climbing wall in one of the elementary schools. It was a few footholds screwed into the gym wall. I'm sure it cost, about $200. Here's a link on senior tax relief. http://www.fairfieldct.org/taxrelief.htm It amounted to over $5 mil last year.
Igor January 30, 2014 at 06:58 PM
I don't care what it cost. It's just an example of spending money where it's not needed.I sure if people were to look I'm sure they could find a lot of waste. For another example. Why is it necessary to have 2 crossing guards at each corner? One guard should be able to handle a intersection.
rottyfan January 30, 2014 at 08:57 PM
Barabajagal: So in your "analysis" you're suggesting that there is more value in Fairfield than Westport or New Canaan because we spend 15% less per student? I'm not the most intelligent or sophisticated thinker, but I thought I'd look at your comparison from a tax rate perspective. Fairfield has a mill rate of 23.93 while New Canaan's is 14.586 and Westport 17.91. So it looks like Westport has the misfortune of paying 34% LESS in taxes while spending MORE on their students! It gets even worse for New Canaan; they have to pay 64% LESS in taxes and their poor students get more funding...the horror! Like I said, I ain't the sharpest tool in shed, but I think this is what the smart folks call VALUE. Ya know what I'm sayin', B?
Matt Hutzelmann January 30, 2014 at 09:25 PM
Come on rotty. You know it's mill rate combined with assessments. Considering living in a refrigerator box in New Canaan costs seven figures, they don't play 64% less. And they don't have"poor" students. They have rich and ultra rich.
rottyfan January 30, 2014 at 09:37 PM
Yes, and I'd much rather keep the equity in my home than transferring it, in the form of higher mill rates, to the local government. I see you have no explanation for Westport's lower tax rate and higher student expenditures. At the end of the day, it's all about value. All Fairfielders have to do is look to the east (Bridgeport +41 mill rate) or to the west (Westport) and figure out where it resides.
Matt Hutzelmann January 30, 2014 at 09:56 PM
Rotty, Westport has a lower mill rate, because they have higher assessments. So they don't pay less. And the house you have in Fairfield, you couldn't get in Westport. The super rich towns can have a lower mill rate bacause the overall grand list is higher. It's always been that way, and it always will.
rottyfan January 30, 2014 at 10:36 PM
Sigh...you don't wave an assessment wand and suddenly you have higher values. The higher assessments are the results of a town's ability to manage costs and services. In other words, it's what the market will bear. And yes, my house is undervalued in relation to Westport because of the spendthrift government in Fairfield.
brian kelly January 30, 2014 at 11:59 PM
Only the little people pay taxes...Leona Helmsley
rottyfan January 31, 2014 at 02:38 AM
Barabajagal: Norwalk is even closer to Stamford and NYC than Westport. If I follow your reasoning, that would make Norwalk more exclusive than Westport. Again, it comes down to how the town is managed.
Ajack January 31, 2014 at 07:34 AM
Rottyfan, You hit the nail on the head. Fairfield's B.O.E. and the Town fathers ( Mr. Tetreau and his Democratic predecessors ) make claims of how good our education system is , when in reality it's ONLY been good for the upper level government employees and the school administrators who are raping the tax payers and out right stealing from the kids. Rottyfan you have it absolutely right!!!!!Have they ever considered where the money is really going in this town ? As to help for the seniors....look at how many people have left the town are planning to leave and who wish they could leave but can't. It's staggering. Matt, have you ever applied for any assistance? It's full of so much red tape and you have to jump through so many hoops to qualify , kiss people's you know what . I'd rather have a lower rate across the board than to have to bend over to get it. Why do I have to deal with a ton of 'government' people ( Progressive job creation?) to get a break? Seems to me that I should be the one to determine what I do with my money. By the way, the school system in the town is not that great and there is nothing 'Special' about our Special Education Department. If you are a parent with a kid that needs help and ask for services for your kid then Special Education becomes 'special'....... a special kind of hell.
Ajack January 31, 2014 at 07:43 AM
Matt, In answer to your comment, the educational system it's never been that good. When I'm told by the people who run it , that it's soooo good.I begin to worry. Been here a long time. While the kids were going throguh the system it was never that good. Maybe it served a few well. But in general it was mediocre at best. Solution through many administrations....spend more money!!!! Never did they look at the fact that their mantra....spend more money... rarely solves any of the core problems . It's the model that they follow that's flawed . it's the lack of accountability that is to blame ( they love that part) . It's their lock step mentality with the State Board of Ed ...It's their total lack of meaningful creativity that really short changes the citizens and especially the kids of the town.There are a lot of victims here in this town...far more than you realize. There is nothing Special about Fairfield. Tetreau wants to be elected again. He hates the idea of having to gte a real job.
Igor January 31, 2014 at 08:04 AM
Matt I don't expect the kids to contribute anything except a desire to learn. Let me rephrase my previous statement. Children have not contributed any tax dollars. Yes my kids went to school here. A long time ago. Trust me I've more than paid for their education with my tax dollars ( and a few other people's kids). I think Fairfield is a very nice town, with nice people who actually care for each other, but I think with the present administration it is going downhill quickly. Just after reading different articles in the Patch, they have everyone going after each other's throats. I also think the BOE are exploiting our children and filling their coffers at the kids expense.
Matt Hutzelmann January 31, 2014 at 09:23 AM
Rotty, towns like Westport, Wilton, Weston, New Canaan... are some of the richest, most expensive real estate areas in the country. Always have been, always will. Full of old money. That's why they are more expensive.
Matt Hutzelmann January 31, 2014 at 09:30 AM
Ajack, I'm not a senior, I've never applied for senior tax relief. It was worth over $5M last year, so somebody got it somehow. I like Fairfield. I'm not a town lifer, but I've grown to like this town and what it has to offer. Sure it's not perfect. I think it's sad you don't feel the same way. Maybe some seniors are leaving. Fairfield county is never going to be able to compete with the South as far as lower costs, lower taxes, lower services. (Nor would I want us to.) But Fairfield is a vibrant town. Look at the construction and new houses, not just in the beach area, but around the University area and elsewhere.
Matt Hutzelmann January 31, 2014 at 09:34 AM
Igor, I paid for other children in the system too, long before I had kids. And it didn't bother me. Yes, people are at each other's throats, and will be every budget season. There are two camps with diametrically opposed goals. I would state I feel that the non-school using residents are not holding up their end of the bargain, and that having a solid school system should be a goal of all of us.
Ajack January 31, 2014 at 10:55 AM
Matt, new construction doesn't equate to good living. Having been in that business for years, I can tell you that all does is increase costs for everyone else. Politicians sell that to us with the hope that when they ask for more tax money from us, we will be wowed and ohmygoshed to death . Shiny sparkly bobbles to get us to let them do what they want to do. Services are sold to us by politicians with a big price tag. They want your vote. Freedoom is living without the stuff that they say you need and tell you that you want.
Ajack January 31, 2014 at 10:57 AM
By the way, when I first glanced at the title of this article , I guess I saw what I wanted to see and thought that it said Tetreau Committed. That would have been news.
Igor January 31, 2014 at 11:14 AM
Matt this non-school using resident has held up his end of the bargain for over 30 years. I agree a solid school system should be a goal for all of us, but not to the exclusion of everything else. Another example of waste. Going past a school at night and every light in the building is on. Someone afraid of the dark. The custodians (who I might add do a great job) can't be every room at the same time.
Matt Hutzelmann January 31, 2014 at 03:15 PM
Ajack, I sure don't live in a McMansion. My house sure isn't new construction, either. But the fact that there is new construction and teardowns being built shows that Fairfield is an attractive place that people are enthusiastic about living in. Again, that to me is a much better situation than a town like those in upstate NY that is not bring is young people and is slowly dying.
Matt Hutzelmann January 31, 2014 at 03:19 PM
Igor, I don't want the other aspects of the town budget neglected. The senior center expanded hours recently and I think that is a great thing. The school budget increase last year was less than the other side of the budget. And the per student increase was about nil.
Igor January 31, 2014 at 04:17 PM
Okay Matt on this we agree.
Ajack February 01, 2014 at 07:49 AM
Matt , I too agree that this past year was done a lot better than in the past. But the impetus is always there for the government to overstep it's bounds. And where we are today is not the best for all of us even after this year. . There are so many alternatives coming down the pike for education, that we should all be wide eyed and perky eared about them. Education should be about innovation, creativity and should never be stifled to preserve the status quo or at the expense of the kids. When you have a top heavy administrative driven educational system like we have , too much of the tax money the money we pay into it for the product we receive goes to them and not to the kids for education. . the vigil has to be kept up. It's not that we don't want a good education for the kids. It's that we don't want blinders on when it comes to spending on it and we certainly don't want the people who stand to benefit from it the most, the administrators, writing, deciding their own pay checks , deciding their own benefit packages and making sure their jobs are secure at the expense of the tax payer and the kids. . Not everything is done for the kids 100% in this town with money.
Ajack February 01, 2014 at 08:00 AM
Lived in Greenwich. The taxes on my place there were the equivalent to what I pay here.....but ........the house was worth three times as much as my house in Fairfield.! How can Greenwich do it and Fairfield can not. Neither of them have any large industries and have around the same population. Greenwich decided to have one large high school. Fairfield decided to double up on their building costs , administrative costs and have two. Hmmmmmm, I think I may have answered my own question here. Greenwich has a lot of kids going to private schools at some time in their eduaction careers, So does Fairfield. Hmmmmm.. Could it be the fact tat Fairfield had the chance to go to one school and decided ( for whatever reasons.........? ) to go to the two school model? Could that have been influenced by people who stood to gain the most here? Hmmmmmm. Could it have been influenced by some people who really didn't have the kids interest at heart and only their own interests , like keeping parts of the town the way they like them? I think I remember something said about that a few years back, a while ago. What say you folks?
John Smith February 01, 2014 at 09:27 AM
Ajack I think that things have trended to more conservative spending in part because of some recent republican victories. The town may be taking a hint ( although the salaries for town employees are still absurd). Fairfield voters tend to be lazy, but as taxes start to get more and more ridiculous perhaps they are waking up.
Igor February 01, 2014 at 11:18 AM
John I agree with you. The salaries are out of sight. The BOE reminds me of the charities where 10% of the money actually gets filtered down to the cause it was intended for, and the 90% go to the administrators. I also agree that the voters are lazy. For those who choose not to vote, you have no right to bitch about anything.
Matt Hutzelmann February 01, 2014 at 01:37 PM
Ajack, Education costs are very labor intensive. There's only so much innovation that can reduce costs. If I wanted my child to be taught online cheap I would enroll them at University of Phoenix. The decision to go with two high schools was made more than a decade ago, and whether it was right or wrong, my kids had nothing do do with it. They shouldn't suffer because "it's payback time!"
Igor February 01, 2014 at 02:37 PM
Matt I don't think it's so much payback time as it's over payment time. The salaries alone for the UPPER ECHELON is way overboard. Counting the assistants and secretaries and all the other office personal it's a tremendous payroll.
Matt Hutzelmann February 01, 2014 at 04:39 PM
Igor, do I sometimes think the salaries of head of curriculum... are high... Yeah. As a parent with kids in the earlier grades, what most concerns me is the magic number, the student teacher ratio. At that age, limiting class size is vital, since teacher face time is so important. If cuts keep getting made, then eventually the ratio will need to be moved. Mr. Walsh on the BoS mentioned in last year's budget battles it might be "time to look at that", which really makes my blood boil. I mean, these are the youngest and most impressionable of our students. A solid start is everything.
Igor February 01, 2014 at 05:34 PM
I agree 100%. The beginning years set the tone for the years to follow. I have no problem with the teachers. Matter of fact there are some that are underpaid. Like I said it the upper echelon that beating the system.


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