Letter to the editor: Beacon Falls budget doesn’t go far enough

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After careful consideration, I find that I cannot fully support the 2011-12 municipal budget that will be presented for a vote on April 27.

The taxpayers spoke at a public hearing saying “reduce spending.” The Boards of Finance and Selectmen did respond by making significant changes reducing the proposed budget from a 1.4 mil increase to a 0.78 mil increase. At face value this looks like an acceptable response and budget, but this reduction was accomplished primarily by adding a new revenue line item, “Collection of Back Taxes,” at $200,000. This is not real money because the economy dictates what, where and how people spend, and they already decided not to pay these taxes.

I do not support this line item as a vehicle to balance the budget because it is not sound management practice to “hope” to collect something that for multiple reasons people did not pay when originally due.

There is approximately $2,000,000 in uncollected real estate, personal property and motor vehicle taxes in Beacon Falls. We need to aggressively attempt to collect these outstanding monies, but much of it is five to10 years old and probably never can be collected.

When I suggested a tax amnesty program last year I was told these programs do not work—that the collection rate is very small. Now all of a sudden an amnesty programs is being touted as one of the drivers behind collecting back taxes to fund this budget.

Lastly, I support and voted to send this budget to a referendum so that more people would have the opportunity to express their vote, but was overruled by the other selectmen. This is always a controversy as the percentage of voters that attend referendums is between 12 to 15 percent. Regardless of the low percentage of the turnout, this normally is tow to three times more participation then at town meetings and it is more convenient for all residents that choose to exercise their right to vote.

This economy requires hard decisions. The combined Boards of Selectmen and Finance have gone part way, but I do not believe that we have gone far enough to meet the expectation of the taxpayers. Unless there is a petition to go to referendum, the taxpayers will ultimately decide the fate of this budget at a town meeting on April 27. I urge everyone to attend and vote.

Michael A. Krenesky

Selectman

Beacon Falls

8 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for making my point. At no time during the 4/12 meeting did the BOS or BOF approve this proposed budget. In fact the normal process would have the BOF vote to recommend for or against the budget, and that the budget be sent to the voters. This never happened.

    Based on past practice of the 1st Selectman, I am sure the 1st Selectman believes that this motion “intended to or implied” support for this budget. Since there was no motion or vote, how does anyone know her opinion on the budget, and why is it that you are not asking the same questions of her? Could it be political?

    I do think it is amusing that I have been accused by these writers of not expressing an opinion during meetings. On Tuesday evening the 1st Selectman once again accused me of speaking too much! Ms Dowdell attended this meeting and at that time added an additional remark that I will not repeat here, but paraphrased, she too implied I talk too much.

    The full text of minutes will be posted next week and we will read who said what and how much.

  2. Once again Mr. Krenesky tries to bend the turth to make himself look good. If he were to read the minutes he mention he would see that he only voted no to having a Town Meeting to vote on the budget, not againest the budget itself.Shame on you Mr. Krenesky for not being truthful in you reply.

  3. Selectman Krenesky — how can you NOT express your opinion as a Selectman, which you were voted in to do, on the budget?

    Getting your name in the paper to state your opinion is meaningless if you fail to fulfill your obligation as a Selectman while attending meetings.

    The web site budget as I recall was $10,000; enough to hire a company that would develop a site useful to not only the community but as I mentioned prior, to potential business owners and investors. New business would assist in securing additional tax revenue the town so desperately needs.

    I am responding to your Letter to the Editor, published on line. Whether you debate or not is entirely up to you.

  4. I will not be dragged into an online debate in this space that I did not express my opinion on the budget, but would only ask that interested readers go to the Town website and review the minutes of the 04/12/2011 Joint BOS-BOF meeting. The only motion made by the Board of Selectman clearly states my position on the budget being presented. I voted NO.
    http://www.beaconfalls-ct.org/Pages/index

    Second in regards to the website. The previous site served the Town of Beacon Falls as intended based on the funding approved to be spent to create and maintain it. It was built to meet a State Mandate related to posting minutes, not to be the portal to everything Beacon Falls.

    As a website committee, we took the appropriate steps and did our due diligence in selecting a new web provider after the current contract expired. We reviewed three proposals, and I believe we have chosen the right provider for the current situation and looking forward as well.

  5. As the article “Beacon Falls budget going to town hall vote” on April 13 states, “The biggest challenge to the town’s budget was shortfalls on the revenue side totaling about $528,000.”

    Sadly but until just this month and after numerous calls and letters to First Selectman Cable did the town hire a new web site development company to create a new web site for the town.

    Why is this important to the budget?

    Many times a towns web site is the first image that potential business prospects and investors go to. Bringing new business in town requires forward thinking, one of which is having a town web site that promotes the town in the best light. The old web site did not do this.

    Just this month the web site committee (Mike Krenesky, Dominick Sorrentino, Kurt Novak) finally made a move to bring Beacon Falls into the 21st century.

    Thank you First Selectman Cable for pushing this committee to “get it done.”

    http://www.beaconfalls-ct.org

  6. I agree with both writers, Mr. Krenesky sits at meetings and votes along with the other selectman then the next day “After careful consideration” changes his mind. He has done this time and time again.To continually flip-flop in his decisions,as goe-antia state, Is not good management stlye. Mr. Krenesky, you need to make a dicscision and stick to it never mind trying to get your name in the paper all the time.

  7. I agree whole-heartily with Sue Dowdell; why didn’t Selectman Krenesky voice his opinion during the meetings.

    “After careful consideration…” Come on Mike, you’re suppose to be carefully considering the budget during the process, not afterward in a a seven paragraph letter to the editor. Not good management style.

  8. I do not understand why Selectman Krenesky did not voice these concerns DURING the joint Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance meetings. It seems political to me that he participates in the meetings and does not disagree with decisions until AFTER all decisions have been made.