The following is a letter from Connecticut Council of Small Towns Director Betsy Gara in reference to the State of CT budget.
Governor Malloy invited COST and CCM to discuss opportunities to provide towns and cities with relief from unfunded mandates. We had a productive discussion about issues ranging from prevailing wage reform to addressing inequities in the Municipal Employees Retirement System and binding arbitration laws. We joined Governor Malloy at a press conference to discuss the need to provide towns with relief from mandates and give towns greater control over local budget expenditures. Here is the press release.
Unfortunately, our participation at the press conference was somehow misconstrued to indicate that we support the governor's proposed budget, which includes deep cuts to municipal aid and shifts education funding from many smaller towns to the state's poorer communities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Let me be clear - COST adamantly opposes efforts to cut municipal aid or shift municipal aid from smaller towns to poorer communities.
Residents and businesses are increasingly frustrated about rising property tax levels. We are very concerned that property taxpayers in our small towns are at a tipping point and that additional increases in property taxes will discourage homeownership and real estate investment. This will undermine efforts to address Connecticut's fiscal challenges in the long-term.
Please contact your legislators TODAY and let them know that COST members oppose cuts to municipal aid and how this will impact your communities.
COST Voices Concerns Re: OPM Fund Balance Requests
COST has heard from many towns about concerns with OPM's recent request for information on municipal fund balances. COST states that "Towns should not be penalized for maintaining a healthy fund balance. Maintaining a healthy fund balance is a prudent fiscal practice to ensure the town's fiscal stability.