When the Republican super majority of the RTM reduced Fairfield's budget for schools, the public library, school nurse's aides, road repairs, and other items, it did so without any accompanying rationale or explanation.
The reductions were simply cuts made for the sake of cutting, with the goal of reducing our tax increase for next year. That's a worthy goal, but blindly cutting as a way to reach an arbitrary number is an irresponsible way to get there. The cuts they voted through will harm our town services, desirability, and reputation -- and in some cases, will actually add more long-term costs than they save in the short term -- all to produce $42 a year in tax savings for the average home in Fairfield.
Who -- and what -- did the RTM Republicans really represent during the budget discussions? Not the majority of Fairfielders. The landslide record number of emails the RTM received and public comments we heard called for leaving the budget whole. And the Democratic-majority Board of Selectmen and Republican-majority Board of Finance had approved this budget, so it truly was a bipartisan financial plan. But the voices of the townspeople and elected officials from both parties fell on deaf ears.
The RTM Republican super majority did not even share its planned reductions with the public until the actual budget vote, which continued until after 3 a.m., denying Fairfielders an opportunity to digest, prepare for or comment on the proposals. Still, hundreds of residents came out, and more than six out of 7seven who spoke called for keeping the education, library, and other budgets whole. Again, their comments fell on deaf ears, as the majority of Republicans voted for every cut.
RTM Republicans' $125,000 reduction in the contingency money earmarked for conducting a more thorough state-mandated property revaluation than in previous years was shockingly shortsighted. The very same Republican RTM members from Southport and the beach area, who ardently protested the last revaluation process, now slashed the funds that the Board of Finance set aside to allow a more thorough process this time.
The Board of Education and Library Trustees will once again trim their services for the least possible impact. But compounded on similar slash and burn cuts year after year, the RTM Republican majority's decisions are beginning to harm Fairfield. Cuts upon cuts means our town gets weaker and less attractive, affecting every resident's life and even potentially our property values. All for $42 a year. I urge all Fairfielders to hold your RTM representatives accountable for their votes.
RTM, District 6