The "Senseless Seven." Like it!
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Gaudet
CTM Statement on Board of Mayor & Alderman Override Vote for School Funding
The Concerned Taxpayers of Manchester commends the seven Aldermen who voted to protect taxpayers and offer some much-needed tax relief in the face of enormous pressure to override the city’s expenditure cap to accept $3.5 million in one-time funds supposedly earmarked for the schools. Mayor Craig had already placed $4 million of the $7.5 million in state aid into her proposed budget.
The Mayor’s own statement after the vote acknowledged that the approved budget “...takes into consideration the financial restraints that so many of us are facing.” We do know that her royal “we” did not include the municipal workers that were allowed to remain at home and draw full pay and benefits and not perform work deemed non-essential.
CTM wants to remind everyone that in our opposition to approval of the recently passed MEA contract, we warned that the use of one-time funds was a prelude to disaster. Now that the Aldermanic Board has voted not to give the school district the remainder of those one-time funds, the city will truly see the real impact of those contracts on the operating budget – which Mayor Craig and her “Senseless Seven” (Aldermen O’Neil, Cavanaugh, Stewart, Long, Sapienza, Barry and Gamache - who supported the override), were trying to hide.
Increasing taxes in this current economic climate would be unthinkable and irresponsible. Taxpayers and residents have suffered financially and emotionally from furloughs due to government-mandated business closures, forced to stay home without a paycheck or benefits while municipal workers remain insulated from hardship and have received full pay and benefits – regardless of whether or not they had to do any work.
In addition, the override proposal failed to account for the expected lost revenue and the wave of property tax abatement requests by commercial property owners, whose properties in the retail space have been significantly devalued. The Mayor and seven alderman who pushed for this override simply do not sympathize with or appreciate fiscal responsibility, and their actions and votes continually demonstrate this.
Instead of making meaningful, impactful and yes – hard, fiscal decisions to save monies in the school district or on the municipal side, not one cost-saving measure has been proposed by the tax and spend crowd on the aldermanic and school boards or the Mayor’s office. In fact, those same elected officials doubled down and are pushing the School Charter Commission agenda of allowing the school board to set budgets and in effect vote on overrides. If the School Board gets taxing authority property owners in this city can say goodbye to any future tax relief. And even more outrageous is the contention from at-large school board member Jim O’Connell in the wake of current racial tensions by making baseless accusations against those seven Aldermen of being racist for not throwing more money at the schools and voting for the override.
CTM is always seeking to protect the interests of taxpayers and again, thanks Aldermen Jim Roy, Elizabeth Moreau, Ross Terrio, Mike Porter, Barbara Shaw, Keith Hirschmann and Joe Kelly Levasseur for doing what was right by taxpayers with their votes on the budget override.