Help Us to Help Our Town
Arguably, the most important activity of a municipal government is the budgeting process. The annual mill rate that establishes everyone’s taxes (along with the assessed value of the property) for the coming fiscal year is set by the unelected Board of Finance, appointed by the Democrat majority on the Board of Selectmen. The good news is that there are public budget hearings where citizens can hear the deliberations that go into the town budget and can share their views on the subject. The bad news is these hearings are inherently insufficient. Why? The typical resident can’t meaningfully participate in a budget hearing because it takes a lot of effort and time to understand what is in each department’s budget. While we applaud any resident who takes the time to get involved in the budget process, the Woodbridge Republican Town Committee maintains that every resident should have the opportunity to vote on the total budget and mill rate in an annual referendum, just as we vote on the Amity budget. This is one of the important reasons why we need to embark on revision of the Town’s Charter.
Another problem with our town’s budget process is the failure of our current leaders to prioritize capital projects. Every homeowner has to prioritize expenditures – and put essentials like a new roof before cosmetic improvements such as a bathroom upgrade. In sharp contrast, the current town administration has multiple ad hoc committees developing capital building projects simultaneously with no effort to prioritize which projects are most important or to sequence the projects so as to even out capital expenditures over time. Current capital plans include such wildly different projects as an overdue re-roofing at Beecher, sidewalks between Amity and the Library, an upgrade to the space used by our Police Department and significant repairs to the Beecher pool. One can tell any organization’s priorities by where it spends its money. But to look at our capital project list, you find a disorganized mix of must-do items combined with pet projects of senior elected officials. And what about investing in our downtown to generate much needed development and improve our tax base? Our local government has become transactional – no long-term goal, no clear vision of what we want to look like in the future. We need to do better. And we can, with your help.
Our local elections are now in November. Our local government depends on people who have the interest, energy, time and life experience to contribute positively to our town. If you are interested in running for office, please let us know now as we are beginning to develop our roster of candidates. In the November elections voters will choose our town’s First Selectman, the five members of the Board of Selectmen, four of 9 members of the Woodbridge Board of Education, two of the four residents of Woodbridge who serve on the Amity Board of Education, as well as half of the members of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and Board of Assessment Appeals. There is not an unimportant position on that list. The situation regarding affordable housing, for example, can have implications for the ZBA – and we know how crucial that is to Woodbridge’s future.
In July both Republicans and Democrats will nominate candidates for the November elections. The Republican Town Committee is committed to nominating the best person for each elected position – regardless of his or her party affiliation. We have endorsed qualified Unaffiliated and Democratic voters in the past – and we are ready to do it again, for we are focused on each person’s talent, dedication, and vision for our Town’s future, not party affiliation. Potential candidates, and voters, should check at the door their views on national issues such as immigration, gun control, the national debt or other hot topics. The Woodbridge Republican Town Committee is focused on local issues – and recruiting the best people for the job. And we are also interested in meeting people who are looking to serve on the many Boards and Commissions, all of which play an important role in the leadership of Woodbridge. Are you interested? Find us at WoodbridgeGOP.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
<span class="fineprint">This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.</span>