Board of Selectmen May 14, 2012
Since this meeting is the last one before the Budget Referendum, I would like to state that I will be voting NO on all the budgets presented at the Referendum.
If First Selectman Mary Glassman was truly interested in getting out the vote on Tuesday, she would not place the Simsbury Bicycle Friendly banner on Hopmeadow Street in front of Town Hall and the Honor Your Veterans – Memorial Day, May 28, banner and replace it with a banner on the Referendum Vote – May 15, Henry James School, instead of relegating the most import issue facing the town to an A frame board. These budgets do not reflect the fact that the Hartford Insurance Company will be leaving Simsbury and with it our tax dollars. Not only would they pay a greatly reduced tax assessment but the approximately 800 Simsbury employees will be out of work. Their homes will be up for sale and will be sold as a short sale leaving the homeowners with reduced buying power. The cascading effect of these scenarios can be devastating to Simsbury’s economy and the tax revenues. The Selectman’s budget has Main Street partnership, a non-profit organization with a $50,000 payment with tax dollars. The Capital Non-Recurring Budget is presented as a bottom line budget of $367,810, not a line item expenditure as noted in the legal notice and stated in Connecticut State Statute 7-344. Past practice has always been line item expenditures for each item in the fund. When questioned about the change in presentation First Selectman Mary Glassman stated that she received a legal opinion through a phone call to the Town Attorney. After much questioning I was given a 4 page legal opinion that is inconsistent with State Law and interpreted by the State Office of Policy and Management as questionable. Section 7-344 (4) states “an itemized estimate of expenditures of such town for such ensuing fiscal year.” The word itemized expenditure is very clear and past practice has conformed to the law. The Office of Policy and Management stated,” it does appear that there may have been a change in the format of the CNR budget. Budgets are normally presented by the particular fund for which legal compliance must be adhered to.” This budget appears to be in violation of State Statutes and although First Selectman Mary Glassman wants to take credit for transparency this bottom line budget is not transparent, giving the First Selectman a slush fund of over $300,000 for her pet projects. The opinion from the Town Attorney states, “I believe the Board of Finance approved the Annual Budget for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year conforms to the Simsbury Town Charter.” However, the Town Charter refers to the State Statute which clearly states itemized expenditures. I totally disagree with the Town Attorney’s opinion. This opinion has not survived a legal test. Since it appears that the budget is not compliant with Connecticut law it should be voted down.
The Ethel walker property should not be approved since it is overpriced, would encumber the town for 10 years and would probably never be developed. This is a red herring and should be voted down. Simsbury cannot afford this extravagant expenditure during an uncertain fiscal climate. The all day Kindergarten that is being instituted through a grant will not continue throughout the years. This is an off line expenditure and the ensuing years will be paid for by the taxpayers. With the Hartford Insurance company teetering on disaster, with all the domino effects on revenues derived from their taxes, we should not be expanding programs but reducing them. Therefore, I will be voting NO for the Board of Education budget.
Recently the town appropriated $24,500 for Web Management Consulting to review the Performing Arts format. We have been told numerous times that all expenditures for Performing Arts will be paid for through their revenues. They presently have $38,000 in their budget which could easily cover the cost of the consultant. Why are the taxpayers footing the bill?
Recently a red bicycle sculpture was permanently installed near the playscape on Iron Horse Boulevard. This was not approved by the Board of Selectman or referred to the land use commissions for a site referral. How can Gerry Toner, Director of Parks and Recreation subvert the authority of the Board of Selectman and approve this placement without authority? Who paid for the sculpture? The placement of the sculpture should not be in close proximity to the playscape since children can get hurt if they climb on it.
I would like to inform this board that Simsbury Patch has released an article stating that Joe Patrina will be once again have a concert at his barn on West Mountain Road on May 18. The Fire Marshall has requested a standard at the barn similar to a Performance Center. The Simsbury Zoning Regulations clearly state that this use of residential property is in violation of the regulations. Since Joe Patrina lawyered up the Town Attorney was asked to give an opinion on this violation and Patrina’s thwarting Simsbury’s regulations. When will this opinion be forthcoming?
Next week the political parties are going to have caucuses to legally elect their candidates for State Representative. Presently the Republicans have Charity Folk and the Democrats have John Hampton. Charity Folk is presently married to Mike Girard, President of Simscroft –Echo and Girard Brothers. Mike Girard recently paid a partial payment on his taxes on properties on Iron Horse Boulvard and West Street and has been given several contracts through the Town when he was in arrears. Other residents that are in arrears are not allowed to do business with the town. Why is Mike Girard an exception? Charity Folk, through the Chamber has headed the Home Improvement Show. Last year Charity set up the event during September Fest in the parking lot away from any foot traffic with the heat rising from the parking lot to over 100 degrees. Several hundred dollars were collected for each space and it appeared that not one of the exhibitors received any business from this event. This was poor planning and placed the exhibitors in danger of heat stroke. How can anyone in the Chamber vote for Charity Folk as a State Representative when her decision making is flawed. The Democrats have chosen John Hampton as their candidate. John Hampton’s taxes to the town never exceeded his car tax under $100. He presently resides in a room at 33 West Mountain Road. There were times that John Hampton couldn’t even remember to pay these meager taxes? How can we expect him to represent Simsbury when he can’t even take care of himself? I cannot believe the sincerity of First Selectman Mary Glassman, Lisa Heavner and Jeff Tindall, Chairman of the Democratic Party to endorse John Hampton when they are aware of his track record. All these hypocrites are quoted publically as endorsing John Hampton but clearly understand that Hampton is an empty shell.