I read with great interest your article entitled “Sans Intervention, Taxes Will Spike Further, Report Finds” in your most recent edition. While we know Woodbridge to be an intentionally “bedroom” community with little commercial development, the figures presented in the article don’t bode well for our taxes in the future. We know we must continue to invest in education – many call Beecher and Amity the “crown jewel” of Woodbridge, so looking elsewhere for savings seems obvious. I think that leaves looking for savings in the cost of town government.
At the end of the article, First Selectman Beth Heller seems to provide some political double-speak. The Board of Selectmen recommended to the Board of Finance to seek a 3% cut across the town budget – but Beth voted against that recommendation – the only “no” vote! She then is quoted in an email communication written after the vote, saying the cuts should not be “restricted to 3%,” and adds the predictable line in an election year “to provide relief to our taxpayers.” A 3% cut isn’t a bad place to start, so why vote no? Continuing the spin on page 10 of the same edition, in the article “Town Budget Next Steps” Beth writes: “I worked closely with Town Finance Director Tony Genovese to identify ways to minimize the impact to taxpayers while ensuring we continue to provide necessary services to townspeople with next year’s budget.” So why wasn’t the “taxpayer relief” Beth wanted incorporated in the budget she proposed to the Board of Selectmen? Please don’t say you are for tightening our budget belt, then present a budget with none of it, and worse, vote against it!
While many Woodbridge residents have traditionally shrugged off tax increases, the fact that mid-sized home values continue to slide, due in large part to our taxes, I hope this will act as a signal that our shrugging days are over. Our town leaders need to step up the effort to trim local government spending and produce tangible results.