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Op-Ed by State Rep. David Wilson

On February 8th, Governor Malloy introduced this year’s state budget.  On March 6th, the governor admitted that his budget was unworkable.  At the same time, he asked the towns to delay their budget processes so that he can fix his budget at leisure, and he asked the House and Senate Republicans to join him in that request. This we will not do.

The governor’s proposal seriously affects town budgets.  The state currently faces a $1.7 billion deficit; the governor has suggested $400 million in cuts to local education funding alone.  Connecticut’s towns are already badly overstretched; it’s impossible for them to develop their own budgets without knowing what they can expect to lose in funding from the state.

As a solution, the governor has now proposed to amend municipal charters—a power that it isn’t clear the state possess—to allow 169 towns and cities, big and small, rich and poor, to delay their various planning and budgeting processes. He is prepared to put local budgets on hold for as long as it takes, and if local government is hamstrung by the wait, that is a risk the governor seems willing to take.

It would be much more to the governor’s credit if he were willing to take responsibility and work with the legislature to get a viable state budget prepared in a reasonable time frame.  His current budget proposal is not a viable solution to our state’s financial crisis. The people of Connecticut deserve a better solution than their state government shifting the consequences of its mistakes onto local government. continued

 
To the Editor:

I am not one to take up the mantle and fight openly for a cause. I tend to be one who works quietly in the background making sure that doors are open, lights are on, and people feel welcome. I speak one on one with people who ask questions and do my best to explain what I know about specific situations. However, at this time, so much is hanging in the balance of a state budget that needs some drastic changes that I feel I need to speak up.

Libraries are in danger.  Maybe not individual town libraries, for they are paid for either by the town or by an association that can prepare for the general flows of fiscal responsibilities. What the State Library offers is support through InterLibrary Loan, drivers and vans that deliver library materials from one library to another, and reimbursement for libraries so that our residents can take their library cards to any library in the state and enjoy statewide sharing of materials.

The State Library also has a line item for the Connecticut Library Consortium. This organization is a very small part of the State Budget - $185,000. Yet through vendor contracts, professional development, and special group pricing - this Consortium has saved libraries (academic, special and public) more than seven million dollars. The Connecticut Library Consortium has specifically saved the Town of Goshen more than $43,000.

The State Archives, the receptacle of all pertinent paperwork from municipalities and Legislative Committees that need to be cared for and processed by professionals trained in archival studies, has too few people to adequately keep up with the demand and yet they are unable to hire new archivists because of lack of funding and hiring freezes.  continued

 
Litchfield Town Hall Survey
Survey ended January 25, 2017.