Letter: My Take On The State Of The City

In life it’s good to celebrate the victories, it keeps morale high and keeps momentum going.

Last night Mr. Cassetti hosted a state of the city address, an event he created that celebrates the progress the city has made during his time in office. I think it’s a good idea, but it should take place in January, far away from election season, so that residents can celebrate the city together without being suspicious that the event is a taxpayer paid campaign platform.

If elected, I would make that change for the sake of unity in the city.

When celebrating the victories, and all progress is worthy of celebration, it’s important to not get lost in exuberance and lose touch with reality. We need to both celebrate, and be smart about the real challenges we’re facing.

Proposing that Arby’s is going to fix an economy reeling from global competition, automation, and rising costs of everything, reminds me of royalty exclaiming, “let them eat cake”. During Cassetti’s two terms in office, city spending increased $4.2 million dollars. It would take $28 million dollars in annual grand list growth to offset his spending increase… Cassetti says he’s achieved $6.25 million in growth…that’s less than 25% of what’s needed!

The short-term measures taken by Cassetti, like borrowing, selling city assets, and spending the rainy day fund are no longer available options, and we’re left with an economy that’s still financially unsustainable. That’s shocks most people, it doesn’t align with the story of “unprecedented progress” in Ansonia, but Mr. Cassetti is such a nice guy that if he says everything’s fine, then it must be…The current trajectory is unsustainable, either he needs to make big changes, or someone else does, because despite the celebration, we’re headed toward trouble, and it’s not just Ansonia, it’s towns like ours all over the country.

There’s been a lot of “done deals” during Mr. Cassetti’s two terms in office. A little over a year ago Cassetti was telling people the exact site he claims will be for Petco and Arby’s was going to be a Buffalo Wild Wings, he told people it was a “done deal.”

The police station on Olson Drive unveiled in early 2014, that was a “done deal”…didn’t happen. The 65 Main St. police location was a “done deal,” there’s not acquired. Ansonia Copper and Brass was supposed to demolished in lieu of back taxes, it was a “done deal,” only 1 building has been demolished…then they wanted to auction it off, didn’t happen.

The “luxury condos coming soon” sign is still hanging in front of the broken windows on East Main St for over two years now. The ATP & Palmer buildings were supposed to be sold back in April 2016, it was a “done deal”, but still nothing. When Cassetti says “done deal,” what he really means is that “he’s working on it.”

There’s no doubt that Cassetti works very hard for the city, but the city had a $3.2 million deficit last year, Petco and Arby’s won’t make a dent in that deficit.

We need big economic changes in Ansonia, we can’t wait for the state or DC to save us, working together and with my background in real estate, economics, finance and marketing, we can make it happen.

The author, a Democrat, is running for mayor in the City of Ansonia.

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