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