After the meeting, the Goncalves campaign issued the following release:
First, It is a tight budget with a 1% tax increase. But, it is yet another tax increase which keeps this administration’s track record of raising property taxes very much alive. This tax increase assumes that the State will allow the City to defer the phased-in revaluation which may not be a given and is reliant on the receipt of certain State funds as revenue sources. Still, $4.3 million of fund balance resources are being used in an attempt to balance this budget.
Furthermore, I am very concerned about the growing debt service where principal and interest payments of $13.8 million equates to almost 7 percent of the current budget required to pay long term debt with more increases on the way. And, this is the first time I remember, perhaps in city history, that the School Board budget was NOT increased with local tax dollars. Based upon global competition for jobs in our country, I remain very concerned about school funding and keeping educators in the classrooms. In the future, I believe a harder look needs to be given toward the consolidation of responsibilities among school administrators and coordinators so we can keep more teachers in the classroom.
The lingering affects of the Early Retirement program trouble me especially given the history and knowledge of our city that is lost when so many good people opt to leave. Our mission must be to sustain a consistent level of services to ensure our city progresses. I believe this budget creates a false impression by deferring certain spending increases into the future. Examples are the potential financial affects of early retirements and the popularity within this administration of providing bifurcated raises.
Overall, I am very concerned about the level of budgetary increases and spending.
Seven years ago the budget was $149 million, now it’s $202 million. Tax increases and $53 million in increased budget spending have occurred while the taxpayers of Danbury realized reduced city services and growing concern over our quality of life.