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Ansonia Alderman: Democrats Playing ‘Fast And Loose’ With Facts

by Lorie Vaccaro | GUEST COLUMN | May 23, 2017 7:39 pm

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Posted to: Ansonia, Ansonia Budget 2017-2018, Letters To The Editor

The Ansonia Republican Town Committee has long been a proponent of transparency in local government.

Our members are responsible for installing permanent video cameras in Aldermanic Chambers, establishing the first active Facebook page for the city, and starting the annual tradition of the Mayor’s State of the City address.

We applaud the Ansonia Democratic Town Committee in their efforts to try to be vocal on city issues. It helps the public to see the discourse.

In their zeal to make an impression, however, the Democratic Town Committee has shown a tendency to play rather fast and loose with certain facts. So the Ansonia Republican Town Committee will be publishing a “False Fact Buster” fact check column when necessary.

First round of the Ansonia Republicans’ False Fact Buster, based on the Ansonia Democrat’s column of May 18, 2017:

FALSE FACT: The Cassetti administration has cut education funding and/or Mayor Cassetti proposes to underfund education.

State law expressly prohibits a municipality from cutting a Board of Education’s funding. This is called the “minimum budget requirement,” which guarantees that city funding will not drop below the prior year’s budget allocation.

The past three years have seen the Board of Education’s budget increase by over $4 million. Mayor Cassetti delivered a proposed budget to the Board of Aldermen this year that would increase the budget by over $1 million and deliver full funding to the district.

The debate about education is about how large of an increase the city can afford in any given year.

FALSE FACT: $500,000+ in blight fees are being waived as part of the propose purchase of 65 Main Street.
Ansonia is not proposing to waive any blight fees or liens as part of the purchase of 65 Main Street. The blight lien stays.
FALSE FACT: Purchase of 65 Main “demolishes historic building” and “fails to secure municipal parking”

Demolition determination has not been made. It’s way too premature. This will depend on the condition of the building.
The agreement secures 50% interest in the outdoor parking lot for public use. It also adds two indoor parking garages. The city has publicly discussed plans to add near 100 additional public spaces on East Main Street.
FALSE FACT: The ATP/Palmer, combined with the purchase of 65 Main Street, would result in a net tax lose.

Speculative at best, this claim by the Ansonia Democrats ignores: a) the potential these large developments have to increase investment activity in surrounding properties; b) the $30,000 savings for the maintenance of the ATP/Palmer buildings; and c) the potential for revenue generating leases within 65 Main Street (Ansonia Housing Authority, Board of Education, etc.).

The calculation of tax revenue from the ATP/Palmer buildings is incorrect.  Even with a reduced assessment for the first three years, the buildings would generate $42,000 per year.  Not $19,000, as claimed.

FALSE FACT: Winter Bros. trash hauling lawsuit costs city $40,000 to date.

It was recently reported in the Valley Independent Sentinel that the city paid Attorney Joseph Coppola $40,000 over two years, with $11,000 attributed to the Winter Brothers lawsuit. The ADTC jumped to claim that the pending lawsuit was “costing taxpayers $40,000 to date.”

The writer represents Ansonia’s Second Ward on the Board of Aldermen.

Views expressed in guest columns and press releases do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley Indy has a 550-word limit on guest columns.

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