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Guest post by Joe Montanaro
It is outrageous, and we should refuse to stand by and watch it happen. We can not continue sacrificing our middle class in order to satisfy the endless thirst for money by a select few who care more about self-enrichment than the true betterment of our community.
We are in-line to spend approximately $225 million in BoE total operating expenditures including benefits, excluding pensions, and $90 plus million to the BoE for capital. These numbers are astronomical. We have a total student enrollment of approx. 8,300 and declining. That means we spend about $27k per student per year, before factoring in capital expenditures. We have spent $534 million (adjusted for inflation) since 2006 on BoE CAPITAL ONLY. How in the world are there ANY maintenance issues with ANY of our 15 Greenwich public schools or fields? We should have no plumbing issues, clean air and complete ADA compliance. This is mismanagement by administrators and vendors. The nerve of some on these building committees to ask for $35 million or $40 million to make “repairs” to OG school. Are you kidding me? Something is wrong with this picture. It does not pass the smell test; in fact, it reeks.
64,000 people live here in Greenwich, 5% are below the poverty line already. Median household income for a family of 4 in Greenwich is $180k; per capita income based on 2021 dollars is $114k. We are small business owners, hardworking families, municipal workers, retirees on fixed incomes, retail and service industry employees, young couples just starting out. We cannot live in a bubble and think that everyone here is a wealthy NYC transplant who doesn’t mind if their taxes go up every year.
Why is public sentiment of fiscal responsibility and transparency being met with such vitriol? Where the money goes and how it is spent should be open to scrutiny and review. We support these questions. The CMS build has become an albatross and should be brought back to proper projections. Why are we trying to build CMS for 660 students? Only 500 students there now, and it is projected to stay around 450 for the next decade or so. ALL involved, regardless of "party," should hear us. They need to address major issues before signing millions of taxpayer dollars over to a construction company.
Greenwich residents do not want higher taxes or overspending on big ticket projects. Cost of living is expensive enough with inflation, food costs, gas, electricity, etc...
This disproportionately affects the working man and woman along with those residents on fixed income.
I do not care what you call yourself. Bad policy is bad policy, regardless of party. Money is money, regardless of party. This year's overall town budget will approach half a billion dollars. Think about that.
Our elected officials must not give ground on policy and principle in order to appease.
YOUR VOICE MATTERS. Click the link to speak at Wednesday’s final public budget hearing, if you cannot attend, use the link to submit written comments.
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