In November Shelton voters, along with voting on national and state races, will be voting on five local issues; four bond issues and the charter revision. In our last Democratic Town Committee meeting we discussed in detail the four bond issues and I want to share with you our thoughts.
First we all need to remember that bonding is long term borrowing. While interest rates are low we are still borrowing money and adding to the City’s debt.
There is a proposal to borrow money to purchase new fire apparatus. Based on information from the several volunteers who are town committee members, it is clear that the purchases are needed. We would hope that this bond issue passes. However, we would also like to see a return to the practice of building a capital purchase fund within the yearly city budget. By doing this, the money would already be put aside when the need to buy new fire equipment becomes apparent. It was the city’s practice to fund a capital purchase account prior to the current administration.
The second bond issue deals with the building of an animal shelter. It is clear that a new one is needed as the current one has not been maintained and no longer meets current standards. We do question the cost, considering the city owns the property and will be doing the site work. While we are not opposed to the concept, it would be nice for the details of the proposal to be available on the city website before election day so that voters can see what they are paying for. Alternately, the committee who did all the hard work to put the project together could have held an informational meeting or provided The Herald with the information so it could be published. It is too late for that now.
The third bond issue deals with roads and resurfacing. There is no doubt that many, many roads in Shelton are in need of repair. The problem is that no one but the Mayor knows what roads will be repaired. There is no procedure for evaluating the roads and rating which should be repaired and when. The city needs a formal process, open to the public for rating all roads within the City and ranking them for repair. This would take politics out of the equation. On this issue the town committee recommends getting more information or voting ‘no.’ Again, we urge the administration to develop a capital budget so that the city can save to future repairs rather than constantly borrowing to do routine repairs. In the end, the work is more expensive because we borrow the money.
The final bond issue is for Canal Street infrastructure. We have heard much on how important this bonding is. This is the same issue that Shelton voters voted ‘no’ on several years ago. The DTC recommends a ‘no’ vote. We believe that the developers should be paying for the upgrades, not the taxpayers. In the long run they will benefit most. I did find one funny item raised in the argument for voting yes. Our State Representative, Mr. Perillo, urged a yes vote because the work would provide jobs. Yes, he was endorsing a shovel ready project as a stimulus. This is the very issue that Republicans in Washington voted against because it wouldn’t create jobs. You see, if it is your idea it is OK, but if it is the other political party’s idea, it isn’t.
David Gioiello is the chair of Shelton’s Democratic Town Committee.