August 18, 2018

Please Vote “Yes” on June 7th

Letter To The Editor:

I am writing this letter to friends, neighbors, fellow property owners, and residents of the beautiful villages of Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton to request that you come out and vote in the referendum on June 7th is support of our revised 2011-2012 budget. I am asking you to do this because the budget we have developed with the support of both Democrats and Republicans is fiscally prudent and in the best interest of our community.

The revised budget calls for total expenditures for both the town and education to increase by approximately 2.9%. In these times of soaring costs (as we all experience when we to go to grocery store or the gas pump), this level of increase is exceedingly responsible. And, candidly, anything less will have a material impact on the quality of life that we have come to expect.

No one likes to see costs go up, which is why we have worked very hard over the past seven (7) years to make government more efficient. We have made some difficult and painful decisions in order to control costs while trying our best to support organizations like our libraries, our volunteer fire department, and our various Boards and Commissions. These are the people that have guided our town while promoting the spirit of volunteerism that allows us to control our spending and limit the corresponding tax burden.

Of the total proposed spending increase of just under $600K, approximately $455K is for the increased cost of education, and a majority of that increase has already been approved by voters who participated in the Region 4 referendum. Although the increase in the Regional school budget was small, our share has increased because Essex will have a higher percentage of students attending the Region 4 schools next year. The local Board of Education worked hard to keep their spending in line despite increases in special education costs, making difficult choices that reduced a number of programs and staff.

The balance on the town side of the budget is largely comprised of small increases in expenditures for health insurance, maintenance of town roads and buildings, public safety, libraries, technology and sinking funds that will prevent future borrowing. These decisions were not made in a vacuum; they were made collaboratively with elected officials and volunteers of both parties acting in the best interest of the town.

In the bipartisan spirit that has guided our Town for many years, I ask for your support of this budget. Please come out and vote YES on June 7th. The Town Hall will be open for voting between 12 noon and 8PM.

Sincerely,

Norman Needleman,
Essex, CT.

Norman Needleman is a Selectman in the Town of Essex

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