As Chair of the Woodbridge Board of Finance under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and as a Woodbridge resident and unaffiliated voter, I am frankly appalled by Cathy Wick’s self-proclaimed budget expertise and cavalier attacks on our budget, our budgeting practices and our First Selectman, Ellen Scalettar.
With all due respect to Ms. Wick’s recent “Certificate in Public Administration,” she has neither the knowledge, expertise, experience nor temperament to run our Town.
First, I want to assure all Woodbridge voters that our fund balance is strong and that we use it exactly as it was intended—to help taxpayers by providing a cushion for unexpected or temporary/one-time expenses to avoid unnecessary tax hikes. For example, a few years ago the Board of Selectmen determined that there were sufficient funds in the Fund Balance to use it for the purchase of open space and thereby avoid the costs of borrowing and corresponding tax increases. This year, we may use fund balance to cover some of our extraordinary winter storm costs.
Ms. Wick claims that we have too much debt. By what standard, I wonder. I would agree that we are unnecessarily carrying debt at the CCW, but Ms. Wick has been among the most vehement opponents of any development there. She has been especially vocal in opposing housing for those over 55, despite the desire for such housing among Woodbridge residents and the financial benefits it would bring to the Town. In an odd change of position, Ms. Wick recently indicated her openness to a university (likely a non-profit providing no tax benefits to the Town) or a hotel and convention center on the site, which would require a zoning change from residential to commercial.
In contrast, Ellen Scalettar has been steadfast since the day she was sworn in as First Selectman in her commitment to finding a fiscally sound plan for the CCW for town residents to consider. She has followed through on that by renegotiating the contract to shift the risk of loss from the Town to the golf operator, by the issuance of a Request for Proposals for the property, and by her plan to have Town residents fully vet the resulting proposal for over-55 housing that would more than pay off the entire outstanding debt on the property.
Our Town finances are in fine shape and in the best of hands. We have one of—if not the best—Finance Director in the state. We are one of just 16 out of 169 Connecticut towns to receive both the Audit and Budget Awards from the national Government Finance Officers Association. We maintain a Aaa bond rating. Our Board of Finance members bring real expertise in business, accounting and law to their task. And our First Selectman, Ellen Scalettar, brings extensive policy and budget experience.
Despite the worst recession in recent memory, we have kept up our investments in our award-winning schools, maintained our buildings and roads, and tightly controlled taxes.
Ellen Scalettar’s leadership has kept us on this path. I urge all Woodbridge voters to vote for Ellen Scalettar and her Team on Monday, May 4th.
Matthew T. Giglietti