Friday, October 03, 2014

Middletown Charter Revision Ballot Questions: Why you should vote NO! NO! & NO!

A letter to the editor from resident Ken McClellan:
Election Day - Tuesday, November 4, 2014
In addition to state officers, there will be a referendum on Middletown ballots for a Charter Revision.
The questions on the ballot will be:

1. Shall the Charter be amended to provide for a term of four years for the following elected officials of the City of Middletown: the Mayor, Common Council, Treasurer, Board of Assessment Appeals and Registrars of Voters?

2. Shall the Charter be amended to raise the bond limit for which the Common Council can approve spending without going to referendum to $1,000,000?

3.  Shall all other amendments to the Charter as approved by the Common Council from the Final Report of the Charter Revision Commission at its September 2, 2014 meeting be approved?
The majority caucus on the council is pushing for these changes.  My opinion is that all of these revisions should be rejected.  

Question 1:  4 year terms.  This sounds like it might save the city money, by eliminating one election cycle. However, we can't eliminate that election.  The Board of Education and Planning and Zoning Commission are elected for 4 years on a 2-year alternating cycle.  1/2 the members up for election every two years.  If the Council were to do the same, I might support this proposal.  One statement made to justify 4-year terms is that it will allow the Council to concentrate on governing, rather than campaigning.  In the time I've lived in Middletown, I haven't seen campaigning take away anything from the amount of governing done.  I have seen the Democratic majority on our Common Council spend time debating topics over which they have no authority or control at the same when a city budget is due.  Unfortunately the budget did not get a lot of discussion.   Please vote NO on this question.

Question 2:  Bonding Limit.  The current bonding limit, the amount of money the Common Council can borrow without a referendum is $750,000.  The Democrats on the Council have found ways to fund multi-million dollar projects without letting the citizens know, by borrowing money in $750,000 increments.  This is not what I call open, transparent and honest government.  I'm sure that their justification is that they want to make sure projects get started, and can't wait for that tedious approval process.  Vote NO on this question.

Question 3:  Everything Else.  I just received a copy of the commission report and council changes today.  This report is not available on the city web-site.  It is not included in the minutes of the Charter Revision Commission or in the minutes of the Common Council meeting where the report was accepted.  I will make the Report and Amendments available on the MRTC website (  Unless you read and understand all the changes:  Vote NO on this question.
We need your vote and the votes of all your friends and neighbors on November 4. Mark your calendar and get out and VOTE!

Thank you,
Ken McClellan
Middletown Republican Town Committee


  1. NO NO NO

    When would the effective date be if it did pass?

    How many towns in CT have 4 year cycles
    for the mayor?


  2. The current government skates around the $750,000 bonding limit threshold without going to the voters right now. What makes anyone think they will not do the same thing if the limit is raised to $1,000,000? Do the voters really think a new limit will ensure the public gets to vote on high end projects?
    As for four year terms for the Mayor, Common Council, and others listed in this article - I for one don't want to be stuck with a bad elected official for twice as long if we don't have to! Two years, four years, six years, it doesn't really matter. A politician is campaigning all the time, so that's a mute point. There are other items in the Revision question regarding increasing the Mayor's pay and the Common Councils stipends. I love how the Common Council gets to give themselves raises. If employees anywhere were allowed to do that, the public would scream bloody murder! Put the stipends on the ballot every two years for the public to vote on. I do not support the Revision Ballot questions. Quite the opposite. I think the Council should be held accountable for violating and scamming the current bond limit. (Breaking a project into two or more pieces of $749,000 to skate around the voters). They now want to bond for equipment which was once part of the budget (CNR and Capitol) planning process which worked so well for so many years. Only means to me there isn't enough money in the fund balance and not enough revenue from taxes coming in to cover these budget programs upfront anymore. The revision opens up the Councils purse strings more than they already are. It's going to bite the taxpayers in the butt sooner versus later.

  3. Thought the mayors pay raise got yanked.

  4. In answer to some questions:
    The effective date would be determined by the common council. I believe they still have to vote to change the charter.
    I don't know how many Mayors have 4 year terms. Not sure there are any.
    The Mayor's pay was removed from the charter change. Hasn't been removed from consideration by the common council. Take a wild guess how that vote will go.

    Ken McClellan


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