Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What would happen if....


We are no West Hartford, and that's ok.  Middletown is it's own animal and we like it that way. Often times we are asked to compare ourselves to towns like West Hartford or Glastonbury, Avon or Farmington, as if admitting quietly that they are better places to live.  I for one would put our restaurants up against anyone in the state. We have our walking trails, our Main Street, our avant-garde art and music scene, our diversity.  We are a working class college town with a lot to offer. Our school system is successful despite the constant budget issues year after year. But if given the financial opportunity it could be so much better.

Let it be understood that many of our budget woes are due to broken promises from the state and federal levels of Government, but there is a certain responsibility that can be shouldered at home.

At the risk of sounding like a closet democrat, please understand my mantra of no new taxes. And please understand that I have always asked for reallocation of funds before an increase of taxes.  I don't support more taxes but when faced with the inevitable I support a fair allocation towards education. Some would call it a request for the majority.

Now, understanding that we are not West Hartford, there may still be something to learn from them.  They recently passed the education portion of their budget. (They have separate votes for their education budget and general budget).  With just the slightest bit of research I was able to uncover a few interesting facts.
  • West Hartford has a population 33% larger than Middletown 
  • West Hartford's Mill rate is on par with ours. So that would automatically mean a stronger but proportionately simmilar revenue stream. (Admittedly I am not sure about commercial revenue vs the residential revenue)
  • West Hartford's budget is 68% higher than ours - win for Middletown! 
  • West Hartford elects to spend approximately 58% of it's total budget toward education vs. 44% in Middletown (yikes)
  • According to niche.com's list of top 100 school districts in Connecticut, West Hartford is ranked #12 vs. Middletown at #58. 
I can't help but think there is a link between the last two bullet points.  What would happen if  we increased  our education percentage?

The only reason I chose West Hartford for this exercise was because it is topical, see this:


We are not West Hartford we are Middletown, but what can we learn from this?  We can learn that none of us are perfect. There may be some expenditures by our neighbors to the northwest that we would deem frivolous. But, they have elected to trust their educators.  I recommend we do the same.

Common Council: Stand up for our kids, actions speak louder than words.

Brian K

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