This is an opinion piece submitted by Dan Penney
To the editor:
I applaud the Mayor, Staff and the Common Council members for there joint efforts in bringing forward a well thought out City budget during these most difficult fiscal times. Our city from Main Street to the most remote areas, including Westfield and South Farms, has never been more focused on a positive new direction. The revised energy management cost reduction plans and improved BOE working relationships speak for themselves.
A special Kudos for the Department Directors of our city services who best understand their respective operational needs and the always present and difficult balance of limited fiscal resources.
Unfortunately, our state, cities and towns have never been more pressed to achieve positive outcomes with fewer resources. Certainly one only needs to acknowledge the stalled economy which, at best, may only realize a 1½ - 2 % growth rate going forward.
We can no longer attempt to address and balance such challenges with the past practices of increasing taxes to accommodate more spending, especially on the backs of our residents. Along these lines of fiscal management, I offer for your consideration the proven concept of SHARED SERVICES.
There are endless opportunities for cost reduction relative to duplicate administrative and operating equipment expenses, that if shared between the City and the South Fire District could effect a tax reduction not only for the residents of our tax district but also for the city taxpayers. At present and in addition to the proposed city tax hike, resident of the South Fire District are being asked to approve a budget with increased spending and the resulting increased tax rate.
The old days of increased taxes to accommodate needless spending should be long behind us. Times are most difficult for homeowners, renters and small businesses. I encourage the Common Council and also ask for your help to aggressively revisit such opportunities and hopefully effect tax relief throughout the entire city. Such tax relief could be achieved in a manner that would not negatively impact labor or critical services being provided by our dedicated and hard working Firefighters throughout Middletown. Such efforts may also free up other resources to better fund BOE critical needs for the benefit of our children.
Management solutions that address both administrative and support equipment duplications provide a win-win for all!
Dan Penney, Middletown