January 18, 2020

Battered and Bruised Following the Essex Budget Meetings

Letter To The Editor:

 I am feeling a little battered following this week’s budget meetings in Essex. The first meeting was attended by approximately one hundred and seventy-five concerned citizens. Twenty additional Democrat loyalists appeared for the vote after being frantically summoned by Democrat leaders after they realized that the majority present (consisting of Democrats, Independents and Republicans) were not going to vote in favor of the budget. Despite their last minute tactics, the budget was turned down 114 to 81.

The questions and comments before the vote were spirited, but polite. However, the participants who questioned the budget were constantly chastised and belittled by the Finance Chairman and rebuked by the Democrat Registrar. It was clear that they believe  that the participants had no rights because they had not attended the nuts and bolts sessions held previously by the committee. It has been my understanding that the committee builds the budget, makes it public and at that time the citizens have the right to ask questions, comment and vote.

After the budget was rejected by the citizens, Democrat operatives misinformed both our heroic volunteer Firemen and employees of the library. It was claimed that a “small group of activists (that would be 114 out of 175)” wanted to defund them. Of course, this was blatantly untrue. To add fuel to the fire, an employee of the library sent an incendiary email that went viral immediately. In the email she stated that the library was in peril because a small but vocal group of activists wanted to defund the library. She claimed that the complaint was the funding for the Essex library-not the amount, but the fact that the town offers us any funding at all.” She went on to say that “the Draconian cut in our funding…would effectively eviscerate the library.” The person that sent this email was not at the meeting and led astray by lies. If I were the author of this email, I would be outraged that I was used as a pawn in an ugly game.

Several people who attended the meeting are so angered by the lies and deceit that they question whether they will continue to donate to the library. As the truth comes out, they will realize that the library was duped. As light is put on the genesis of the misinformation, I am sure the angered citizens will continue to donate to our library. The campaign of lies was despicable and has backfired.

At the second meeting, the Finance Chairman graciously allowed for more questions and comments.  Within a New York minute, however, he became testy and continued to lecture and belittle those who questioned the budget. At this meeting, library employees, fueled by misinformation, came to the meeting with a prepared speech. They passed out stickers to “save the library.” They were righteously concerned.  How were they to know that they were fed a pack of lies by Democrat operatives?

The sadness about the kerfuffle is that we all understand and appreciate the hard work that goes into the construction of our budget and want what is best for the citizens of Essex. There was an audible gasp when one of the participants informed the group that there were currently more than one hundred and forty homes with liens in Essex-up from around forty in the previous year (the up to date numbers are fifty two last year and one hundred and ten this year).  And, of course, this is the crux of the issue for most of us not in favor of the budget as it stands today. Taxes are already too high and going higher as a result of the Malloy budget. We have citizens who are going under, about to go under-and so many of our citizens are on fixed income. It is pathetic that some believe that the only way to get what they want is to demonize and victimize.


Alison Nichols,
Essex, CT