Sweet’s Letter Asking Residents to Pay Taxes Early Draws Many Emotions
In Plainfield recently a letter was sent to local homeowners from 1st Selectman Paul Sweet asking their assistance. Sweet’s letter speaks to the town not receiving any assistance from the state of connecticut which of course is due to it’s own fiscal problems since the state itself is operating without a budget currently. Cathy Tendrich, a current member of Plainfield’s Board of Finance and Democratic First Selectman Candidate stated “As a member of the Board of Finance, I was aware of the request being presented to the residents of Plainfield. This was one of five options discussed as a possible response to the impact of the State budget situation. Although this was a difficult decision, it was one that had to be made.” Tendrich, although a candidate for office, she went on to say “As a resident and business owner in the town of Plainfield, I also received the letter. I understand the difficulties families and towns are enduring due to the State budget cuts and the lack of a State budget. But, I believe it is better to unite, especially when times are challenging, in effort to find a solution for the good of all.” A lot of residents currently have their taxes in escrow which would present an issue of raising funds. Plainfield Board of Finance Chair, Vickie Meyer stated in an email to Wolverine Radio “I do not think it will bring in a lot of money. I believe that about 85% of residents have their taxes in escrow with the bank. I think Mr. Sweet is trying everything he can to bring in revenue.
Residents are having their say in this as well, and it’s not all negative. One resident stated in Facebook’s “Plainfield News and Current Events” that he did go down to town hall “help Plainfield in their time of need.” Even though he tried, that office closes at 4:30pm and he arrived at 4:45. Brian E. King, you tried! It would seem from his statement, Libertarian First Selectman candidate Dan Reale is certainly not in agreement with the letter. The word he uses is “insane.” Reale reacted by saying “First, NEVER in state history has any taxing authority accepted payments early for a variety of constitutional reasons. Second, let’s assume you have that kind of spare money and you chip in, and you have a mortgage. Now your escrow is out of whack. Realistically, there is no taxing or borrowing our way out of a 40% hit in state education aid – and no one is realistic if they expect a budget before January. This is cruel, cold and hard math, and it says our options are to lay teachers off (among other people) – or a Chapter 9 Bankruptcy to cram down our debts and renegotiate other expenses and contracts. The alternative to that would be a few grand on every household in some form or another – and that’s GOING to push a lot of kids into foreclosure for the sake of saving their teachers.” Since it’s election season, it wouldn’t be right without approaching the 4th and only write in candidate for this years First Selectman race, Kevin Cunningham. When asked, at the beginning of the statement, didn’t seem like he either for or against the letter. He did say that he felt that “this initiative needed to have a little more thought behind it before being acted upon and mailed to residents.” Both Cunningham and Meyer seemingly agree that this would not bring in a lot of funding. Reale thinks it’s just plain nuts, and Cathy Tendrich is calling for unity in a challenging time. So, what’s the answer here. There really isn’t one. The state doesn’t have a budget and that trickles down to every single one of the 169 towns in the state of Connecticut with a message that says “Good Luck, wish we could help.” Plainfield is not unique in this. All other towns are going through this same thing. Here’s what we know. The cuts are coming, and it’s going to hurt… and it’s probably going to hurt pretty bad. If your head is in the sand like an ostrich, it’s going to hurt worse. Whether you approve or disapprove of your Board of Selectman and the letter that went out, you have to give them an “A” for effort for at least being creative. Cash isn’t rolling in. Here’s the other thing we know. There’s going to be a new regime in town and they are going to be staring eye to eye with a buzzsaw that’s moving toward you. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy and thank god there are people out there willing to give it the ole college heave ho! Good Luck, wish we could help…..