Whitneyville Civic Association
At 7:05 the meeting was called to order by President Janet Kazienko.
Tonight is Janet’s last meeting after her two years in office. Janet thanked the board and said she learned a lot on the job, but she’s happy to be passing the baton. She said her husband, especially, is relieved her tenure is over.
- Conflict with Ridge Hill PTA meeting. Our meeting will potentially move from the 2nd to 3rd Thursday of the month.
- Library Fundraiser. Dave Bechtel said the Library fundraiser brought in $2000, and was a lot of fun and great for the community. Maureen Armstrong will work on a check ceremony with the town library board. New trees were recently planted as part of the refurbishment.
- Treasurers report: $1,664.81 and $3,848.82 in our accounts, including the library fund raiser monies.
- Dave Bechtel was unanimously elected President. Connie Matheson was unanimously elected Vice-President.
Guest Speaker. State Representative Michael D’Agostino spoke.
- D’Agostino is still trying to change the mechanism for distribution of state funds to schools. The state was ready to announce the new budget, when it learned that quarterly-filer taxes were seriously below projections. Now looking at a 2.5 billion dollar deficit.
- Over the years, the state did not regularly put money aside to fund the pension obligation. Little is left for discretionary spending. The political reality is that taxes are unlikely to be raised.
- However, there could be a sales tax increase and regional tax assessments, as are done in other states and are being discussed. No matter what else happens, educational taxes pay for more than just math and English teaching, so Rep. D’Agostino is hoping funds can be diverted from other pots to communities that need it.
- Budget cuts will hurt state workers who may be laid off, resulting in depleted services and municipal aid.
- We might not have a budget on June 7, which would give the governor plenary power, and might not be a bad thing since he is not running again.
Citizen Input and Questions.
- Deirdre Dolan asked if legalized marijuana or toll roads are being considered as potential revenue sources. “Legalized marijuana is interesting,” Rep. D’Agostino said. “I think it will come back into the budget because the money will just end up in Massachusetts or Vermont.” Toll roads could also happen but the money can only be used for transportation which would make the transportation fund solvent, perhaps $100 million in the first few years. Reps from border towns like Danbury don’t like them.
- Closing the hedge fund loophole will not happen. No appetite in the Senate and the Governor will veto that.
- Connie Matheson asked, “Should we be making phone calls to support your formula for fairly supporting all the schools?” D’Agostino suggested calling Martin Looney to make sure Hamden gets its educational funding. Courts found that the way Connecticut distributes its educational funds is unconstitutional. This case is now at the state Supreme Court, and the new methodology Rep. D’Agostino is working on would change the formula so ring suburbs like Hamden would get more funding. The new formula forces districts of 1,000 or less students to join with larger districts or lose their funding.
- Michael Ross noted that we are going to have 380 new households when the new development at Mather and Dixwell opens. What kind of impact will that have? Rep. D’Agostino said it will trigger redistricting as well as adding taxes to the town pot. But a lot depends on whether some of those kids have special needs. The new development is not family housing though; the units are small, single bedroom efficiencies.
Adjournment: President Bechtel adjourned the meeting at 9:00.