Op-Ed: Our BET Platform
The six Republican members of the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) are committed to practical financial policies to make Greenwich a great place to live, to raise a family, to work and to retire. Bill Drake, Andy Duus, Karen Fassuliotis, Debra Hess, Mike Mason and Leslie Tarkington ask for your support to continue these policies, which allow the management of our town finances in a prudent manner. Please vote Line B on November 5th.
The expense of government should not be an ever-increasing burden on your finances. While Greenwich’s mill rate, the amount you pay on each $1,000 of the assessed value of your property, has risen when compared to other Connecticut communities, the increase has been tempered due to decades of Republican fiscal management. Over the long term, spending wisely is the only way to keep taxes manageable.
As Greenwich Republicans, we confirm that we should construct or renovate our town’s infrastructure without burdening future generations with long-term debt. In the last 12 budgets, the BET has appropriated $664 million to improve our infrastructure, through renovations or by building new buildings. Some of the notable projects are a public safety center for both police and fire headquarters, new Hamilton Avenue, Glenville and New Lebanon Schools and the GHS music additions. The peaceful waterfront Cos Cob Park and the updated Byram Park with its beautiful new pool are other examples of construction projects funded by the town, along with private money contributions.
These recent major projects were supplemented by many millions more in annual maintenance including road paving, bridge repair, sewer and drainage projects, radiators, boilers, generators, roofs, flooring, bathrooms, doors, windows, electrical systems, plumbing, lighting, vehicles and other brand-new additions to our town buildings and streets, and updated fleet including fire engines.
Since the early 2000s, the BET policy has been to finance most construction with financial borrowings over seven years, using a financial model commonly known as “modified pay-as-you go”. This long-established, conservative approach to debt means our town manages its finances without burdening future generations, a policy that benefits every resident. Greenwich has avoided the large debt overhangs which have been shown to plunge other communities and our state into deeper debt. The current proven approach of modified pay-as-you-go will continue to have our strong support.
The largest portion of our town operating budget is to fund our Greenwich Public Schools. We will continue to support school budgets that promote academic achievement for all students. We will also continue to dialog with the Board of Education to assure that this goal is achieved.
Greenwich Republicans recognize that Greenwich is a small town and as members of the BET, we will strive to support a budget aimed at protecting our property values and preserving the unique combination of suburban, shoreline and back-country living for which this town is renown.
As your neighbors in government, we recognize that Greenwich has unique and beautiful natural resources that must be preserved and protected. We will continue to support incentives that aim to preserve those resources based on responsible environmental stewardship, as well as promoting open space and conservation efforts based on sound science combined with evidence-based best practices. We will champion public-private partnerships to assure the continued monitoring and preservation of our town’s natural resources.
We recognize that an essential role of our town government is to ensure our community’s safety. We will continue to encourage collaboration between career police and fire personnel, our public safety volunteers and our public private partnership for emergency services so that they continue to provide the exceptional essential safety services are residents have come to expect.
It is a privilege to continue to serve you. We ask that you support and vote for all six of us this November 5th so that we can continue to build upon these proven policies and make Greenwich the best place to live and raise a family, work and retire.
Bill Drake, Andy Duus, Karen Fassuliotis, Debra Hess, Mike Mason and Leslie Tarkington are the incumbent Republican candidates for election to the Board of Estimate and Taxation this November 5th.
From Bill Drake, Andy Duus, Karen Fassuliotis, Debra Hess, Mike Mason and Leslie Tarkington.