Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Finance & Taxation Chairman Sets Stewart's Record Straight

To the Editor:

Recently there has been a great deal of controversy about a push poll funded by State Democrats under the guise of research. In this push poll the "researchers" make numerous misleading and outright fabrications about New Britain Mayor Tim Stewart's record, especially in regard to taxes. Dan Kelly of the State Democratic Party has claimed that every question in the push poll was proven fact, including one question that alleges Stewart, who is a candidate for the 6th District state senatorial seat, has increased spending in New Britain by $40 million each year.

As chairman of the Board of Finance and Taxation, I feel it is my obligation to point out that this claim by Mr. Kelly is completely false.

The New Britain City budget is a publicly available document that anyone may download from the city website. If you review the budgets for the past seven years you can see that our city's budget has only increased by $12 million in total. In fact, the average increase over the past seven years has been less than $1.8 million per year. Here are the actual budget totals:

2005 - $198,248,780
2006 - $204,753,542
2007 - $207,071,521
2008 - $209,485,760
2009 - $214,512,934
2010 - $206,336,009
2011 - $210,178,692

I believe this data makes it abundantly clear that Mayor Stewart has, in no way, increased city spending by the amounts claimed by the Democratic party and that this supposed poll is nothing but a smear campaign.

The voters of Berlin, Farmington, and New Britain need to know the truth. Mayor Stewart has held an amazingly tight reign on municipal spending and taxes. As a result, year after year Blum Shapiro, a highly respected accounting firm, has repeatedly given the city and Stewart positive recommendations to the rating agencies. Subsequently, the city has been able to maintain a favorable AA bond rating throughout Stewart's tenure. Therefore, it easier and less costly for the city to borrow money needed to undertake improvement projects like the current police station project.

I know from my role on the Board of Finance and Taxation that working to present a balanced budget that addresses the needs of our city and is fiscally responsible is an extremely difficult task. Mayor Stewart should be lauded for successfully working with unions, city departments, and the common council to ensure the taxpayers of New Britain are well served and not overburdened. I can only hope that in the coming weeks, the state Democrats and their candidate will stop wasting their energy on false allegations and instead focus on addressing the concerns and issues that matter most to voters.

Nicholas D. Mercier
Chairman, Board of Finance and Taxation
61 Sexton Street, New Britain, CT


Lou Salvio said...

From 2003-2005, I served AS CHAIR of the NB Board of Finance & Taxation (BF&T). At the time, John Jedreczek was the Director.. The BFT at that time comprised a very dedicated and professional group of NB citizens, much as it does now. It is no small task to craft a budget that is fair to all NB citizen taxpayers, yet, the BFT did it then and has continued to do it under the leadership of Mayor Tim Stewart. Listen to Chair Nicholas Mercier, he knows of what he speaks.

For seven years, Tim Stewart has done what few Mayors in Connecticut have been able to do, i.e., protect the bona fide taxpayers of New Britain.

New Britain taxpayers should celebrate that effort. BFT Chair, Nick Mercier and the entire BFT will do a wonderful job with this year's budget recommendation also. Taxpayers should not look at only the education budget.

Anonymous said...

He Nick. You are wrong. He has increased the spending 40 million since he became mayor. You selectively only look back to 2005? He became mayor in 2003. Do the MATH!

The Truth Hurts said...

You mean Gerratana was lying when her robocall messaage said that Stewart raised taxes an average of $40 million per year that he has been mayor?

That would mean that in the 7 years he has been mayor, he has raised taxes an addition $280 million.

Say it isn't so that a Democrat is lying in order to get elected!

Anonymous said...

The campaign for the Feb. 22nd special election in the 6th State Senate District is shaping up to get more combative over the next three weeks of this PUSH-POLL of "double dipping" plus the "two salaries" issues?

The Walt Disney symbolism of SNOW WHITE's two clean hands, her left hand dumping 30 pieces of SILVER coins, her right hand dumping 30 pieces of GOLD coins, into political hands of Rocky Mountain Research Center for her PUSH-POLL campaign solution of a $30.000 Senate 6th District seat is Terry Gerratana's family style of dirty political campaigning?

Plus the symbolism in the TV Movie of Rocky Mountains Trapper "Jeremiah johnson" (PG'72) Actor Robert Redford is innocent of dumping all of that Rocky Mountain SNOW WHITE snow, snow, snow here in Connecticut?

Nicholas D. Mercier said...

To "Do the MATH" -

If you go back to 2003 the 2003 budget was $189,984,126. Though if he was elected in 2003 then his first budget would have been the 2004 budget which was a total of $190,329,336.

So even taking these numbers you only get a increase from $189 million or $190 million to $210 million. So that is $20-21 million over 8 years. Still no where near the figures claimed by Mr. Kelly. I had used 2005 as a starting point because that was the historic data available in the most recent budget.

So instead of merely believing what you hear in a push poll perhaps you should research your facts and "do the math" yourself.

Anonymous said...

Tim Stewart has done a remarkable job with keeping the cities budget in check. Consider the fact that in a city like New Britain where taxpayers earn less than other more affluent areas and support more social services than many other areas, the poor and middle class supporting the poor is usually a disaster. We can look to Waterbury where the city could not even meet payroll and had to be managed by the state of CT.

Here in New Britain we have had steady tax rates. We have superior
services to other surrounding bedroom communities and if you really do your homework, you will find that taxes in towns such as Berlin and Southington are reaching
the same as those in New Britain.

For example, a 1000sq ft condominium in Kensington, just under $3,000 in annual property taxes. And what do get in Berlin/Kensington for your tax dollars? A volunteer fire department. A small police force.
Both the High school and Middle schools falling apart.

Here in New Britain Tim Stewart works hard to improve our roads, parks, school buildings, and to attract new business to the city.
We have outstanding police and fire departments that we can rely on.

I beg the nasty poster to argue about the job Tim Stewart has done.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Mercier for keeping the facts and the truth accurate.

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