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Is It Time For Newtown's People To Be Heard? POLL UPDATE

You can now vote on each question! Wayne Addessi thinks it is time for the town's leaders to listen to the residents, and offers a poll.

 

Is there a chance for a survey? Will our town officials engage with residents? With all the discussion, postings, letters to the editor and more negative comments and nasty bantering from a few with regard to the past four referendums, it’s time to direct our collective energy to constructive questions directed to our residents and ask our town officials to engage with us openly, candidly and constructively.

I highly urge our town officials to quickly organize a town forum. An “open mic” town hall style forum where folks can ask questions, engage with our elected officials and expect responsive solutions . After four failed referendums, it would very refreshing to engage our town officials. Also, in an attempt to manage such a forum respectfully, perhaps a small group of volunteer moderators would take notes and sort out some real concerns we do have.

Some of the questions we have should include how effective is Newtown's fire, police, EMS, public works and other support services? Are the schools doing a good job? How do we feel about proposed bond programs to support public works, school and other purposes? How satisfied are residents? How do we get to know this? A survey is one option. Engaging all is another, not for one meeting though. A series of meetings would be ideal.

Newtown is not alone from other towns and cities without information and feedback from the vast majority of our town’s residents. A relatively small number of vocal residents typically attend town council meetings and provide suggestions and feedback. Yes, their opinions and feedback are often biased and represent their own personal interests, which are frequently different than the opinions of the majority of residents.

What do we need to do? It’s time for better communication with from our town government and until now there has been little effort , but my goal is to see change. I have written a few questions below in an attempt to gain some sort of understanding of what hopefully many will respond to.

 

A few questions for the voters…

Alex Tytler July 02, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Not a well written poll, and these can be voted in over and over again to manipulate the result.
Katie July 02, 2012 at 11:02 AM
And, you should be able to choose more than one answer.
Art h July 02, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Poll was written by a idiot
John Tuttle July 02, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Only an idiot would write "a idiot."
tiredofthehypocrisy July 02, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Says the person using an alias.
John Tuttle July 02, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Of course your legal name is "tiredofthehypocrisy."
Paul Alexander July 02, 2012 at 03:53 PM
The town side budget savings recently outlined in The Patch comments are encouraging. A similar summary from the BOE or Superintendent would be welcomed. In the final analysis though, the savings are not enough. Why? Because the proposed budget remains an increase over the previous budget. Yes, the percentage increase is small, but it is still an increase. And that small increase compounds significantly over time when the budget always and only increases as is the case in Newtown. Just ask anyone who has lived in town more than 20 years how that feels. Many previous budget referendums have passed large tax increases, on the first ballot. Why did these past budget increases pass so easily when this year’s minor budget increase has been DOA four times? Because taxpayers understand and accept the social contract. When we are all doing well financially the taxpayers understand that the town should benefit. The problem this year is that the town leadership, and a very vocal minority of taxpayers, do not accept the social contract in reverse.
Paul Alexander July 02, 2012 at 03:53 PM
What the budget and taxing authorities in town fail to appreciate is that taxpayers are asking one simple question. “If you’re not going to REDUCE taxes NOW (Not just a reduction in the increase but reduce bottom line year over year taxes), in what everyone stipulates is the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression, then it is reasonable to conclude that you will NEVER reduce taxes.” And the premise that taxes only go UP is just unacceptable. The lower grand list, higher mill rate game is particularly galling. Budgets CAN go down. Taxes CAN go down. It’s OK. Take a cleansing breath. The rotation of the earth won’t reverse. The sky won’t fall. THE CHILDREN won’t grow up to be toothless illiterates mumbling about cheapskate taxpayers screwing them over. And if the budget is not reduced now, under the current economic circumstances, then would the town’s leadership please outline how bad the economic contraction would have to be before they WOULD propose a zero or negative budget. There should be a real DECREASE in the tax burden this year. 0.0% IS “the compromise”.
Thomas Crafts July 02, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Very well said!
Fran Gates July 02, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Well said Paul.
Sam Mihailoff July 02, 2012 at 05:48 PM
what Alex said
sadielee July 02, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Paul- several of your previous posts advocate for a "less then 1%" increase saying it would be in the peoples best interests to pass the last budget. Did you change your mind all of a sudden?
Paul Alexander July 02, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Yep. This has become more of a leadership issue for me now. It’s a bad enough when elected officials ignore the majority of the electorate. But what’s worse is that they just don’t seem to have the courage to make the difficult choices that leadership in an economic contraction requires.
Nick N. July 02, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Pay no attention to this poll as people can vote several times providing for misleading results.
Andrew Paley July 02, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I really want Full Day Kindergarten but would be willing to do what some districts have done to solve this issue, at least in the short term. I know several Towns that charge the parents who want their child/children in Full Day Kindergarten about $2000 for the year which pays for most of the extra expenses... less than a full year of good child care after or before school and our children will get a full day curriculum that will set them up better for 1st and 2nd grades. Win/Win... if they did this, the Newtowners without kids in school don't have to be burdened this year and those of us who have to pay for child care anyway can get a true education for our young ones.
Celeste July 02, 2012 at 08:58 PM
The Patch and it's surveys are a complete joke
Realist July 02, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Shoud be a question did you vote no because you want more money put into educatin budget.
Wayne Addessi July 02, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Andrew Paley, Very good idea and point! New and creative revenue generating streams are what you're speaking of. Municipalities across the country are doing just that. Police Departments are doing this as well. Generating new revenue streams to offset taxes for the rest of the town is a possible way to keep taxes down but still offer selected services such as FDK by charging fees this service. This could be an ideal way to offer specific services and have the user pay either a portion of, charge fees for, or have trhem pay in full. Interesting! Yes??
Big Family July 02, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Po, I noticed that you haven't responded to Paul's comments, is it that he makes way to much sense for you?
Glenn July 03, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Bravo!
Glenn July 03, 2012 at 12:20 AM
And yet you still choose to grace us with your presence, insight and constructive comments....
Thomas Crafts July 03, 2012 at 12:21 AM
PO will not acknowledge Paul, because it makes her look selfish.
Christine Rose (Editor) July 03, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Coming up in the morning. Almost done.
The Bearded One July 03, 2012 at 01:46 AM
I think a series of "townhall style meetings" would be beneficial. These meetings could be held at the various schools across the town.
C J Marion July 05, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Wayne, thank you for the poll. While not scientific I believe the responses do represent the feeling of the people. A zero budget increase is the only way I can vote yes. Also, I don't believe splitting the vote between the the town and the school would work; a "yes" or "no" would become even more political than it already is today (if that is possible).
Lois Imbriano Barber September 02, 2012 at 03:35 PM
LOL I remember last time around, the politicians were saying the budget was defeated because people wanted to spend MORE money for the schools. What a spin on reality. The school budget is a sham - MILLIONS were spent on additions to the high school and only 1 year after completion, the town wanted to close the 5 year-old Reed School because the student population dropped. Why didn't they just take to Freshmen out of the HS and move them to the Middle School instead of spending all that taxpayer $? Was the figure for the HS addition 150 million? I started HS in the 10th grade. I attended Junior High during my freshmen year. There was nothing wrong with that then, and there's nothing wrong with it now. Most of the money sunk into our high school was for gyms, not for scholastic subjects. The new cafeteria would not have been needed if the Freshmen class was at the middle school. I would vote 'yes' to the budget if the school board had some common sense. PS - I have 3 children and vote 'no'.

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