Letter: The taxpayers have spoken


To the editor,

Once again, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to our patriotic and concerned taxpayers for their outstanding turnout at the Naugatuck budget referendum. With more than a 20 percent turnout and an overwhelming “no” vote, the taxpayers have spoken and our local pols would do well to heed their voice.

In reviewing the results of the vote I read Mayor Bob Mezzo’s remarkably inane comment in the Oct. 16 Republican-American where he stated, “That doesn’t mean we won’t make cuts; we most certainly will. But I’m not lying to people when I say that there are no more significant cuts to make.”

May I then suggest to the Mayor that he then start looking at “insignificant cuts,” and lots of them, for as the late Sen. Everett Dirkson famously said, “A billion here and a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.” Mr. Mayor, a thousand here and a thousand there and pretty soon you’re talking real money and real savings to the taxpayers of Naugatuck.

It was also suggested that a 2 percent across the board cut would also accomplish a meaningful reduction. While working in private industry for over 40 years I was required to cut our budgets by 5, 10 and once 15 percent. Trust me, my experience tells me that there is plenty of waste in any budget and, I suspect, public budgets contain more than private enterprise budgets.

I was also appalled at the response of Superintendent Sharon Locke to a suggestion by Matt Katra to cut administrative positions. Her reply was classic liberalism and diversion. She stated, and I quote, “As I’ve stated in the strategic plan, when you look at the needs of the district right now, the administrative to teacher ratio is right in line with state averages.” Well, Ms. Locke, by your logic, if all other school districts had three hatchet murderers on their staffs, Naugatuck would be right in line with three hatchet murderers on its staff. This reasoning is absurd, and to be blunt, very disappointing for a person charged with leading our schools. Administrative positions should be determined entirely and solely by the workload and requirements of the borough of Naugatuck, with no regard for what other school systems are doing.

It should be very clear that Naugatuck residents are suffering under the tremendous burdens of recent years. Just look at all the “For Sale” signs around town and you get the idea. With high taxes at all levels, and lost jobs, the citizens have had enough.

Let us all keep the pressure on our elected officials to make meaningful budget cuts. In particular, we would like more visibility to the school budget, the largest individual expense in the budget. It is ridiculous to see a single line in the municipal budget for the school budget, with absolutely no detail breakout at all. As taxpayers, we deserve the right to review that budget. After all, it is our money paying for it.

Once again, thanks to all our voters for performing your civic duty.

George L. Sirois



  1. Mr. Sirois, The 150 page detail of the school budget has been posted on the school district’s website under District, sub category Business and Finance since last spring. Having been at the first public meeting on the budget, I got a hard copy of it that night when I asked. Attached is a link below.
    Also having worked in the private sector for over 30 years, one of the worst business decisions I ever saw was across the board cuts over divisions as I saw profitable ones which were that way because they were well managed, decimated and or loose revenue because they were forced to take the 10% cut the same as the divisions losing money. This just hade the profitable divisions less effective and less able to compete and they made less money.
    Also. required pension payments, union contracts or debt payments cannot be unilaterally cut 2% on a whim. Several years ago, a previous administration in one year got police and fire to take a zero increase. However, in order to get it, they gave 6% increases over the next 2.5 years if I recall correctly. Are you advocating to pay higher taxes tomorrow to save money today? Isn’t that why we have pension bonds to pay off now, because we did not make those payments in the 1980’s?
    It is a frustating situation, but it is the fiscal realityof the town we call home.