Thursday, March 29, 2018

And Justice for All - The Most Underhanded Mayor of All Time

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And Justice For All

A NEWSLETTERIssue #53 March 27, 2018

Need Your Taxes Eliminated?

Opinions Of A Citizen, by John Milardo

And Justice for All is a newsletter involving my opinions, views, and commentary as a lifelong Middletown resident. As my capacity as a former employee and staunch Labor Leader of City of Middletown Unions (retired with 42 years of service), I have a different perspective of how and why public figures do what they do.

Well, well, well! Middletown Mayor Daniel T. Drew has now become the most underhanded, untrustworthy, Mayor of all time in our City! He has now decided that he does not need the Common Council to approve tax abatements for businesses. Mayor Drew gave one or more businesses, between 2015-16, a reduction in their property taxes of $150,000. That’s right, $150,000! How are your property taxes? Seen any reductions in them lately? We should all go see Danny and ask him for one. Gee, I wonder how much these companies donated to his campaign funds?

Whether it’s called a “deferral” or an “abatement”, this issue should have gone before the Common Council members for approval. The Mayor does not have the unilateral authority to approve a tax abatement…. for anyone. He has violated the City Charter and the public’s trust.

As those who have college student loans know, a deferral means what you currently owe is placed on hold until the individual finish studies. Once you’re finished your courses, payback of all money owed begins again. Abatement, means a certain amount, let’s say $150,000 is forgiven. You don’t pay it back. These above-mentioned companies don’t have to pay tax money back. Therefore, it’s an abatement, not a deferral. No matter how you cut it, the Mayor violated policy and City law.

Supposedly, Mayor Dan received a legal opinion from the City Office of General Counsel giving him the authority to do so. Whomever in legal gave him that opinion should be under investigation, as should the Mayor. Impeachment and termination should be on the table as well.

How could this have been kept a “secret” for all this time? If this was on the up and up, the Mayor would have been tooting his horn about it. Shame on the Democrats and Republicans of the Common Council if they knew about this and said nothing!

Questions. Why this/these businesses only? Why this certain amount? Why didn’t the abatement have to go through any other Commission, Committees, or Council meeting? Why was the issue hidden from the public?

On to different topics. The Mattabasett/Middletown sewer project is underfunded…...again! Town voters approved the first bond for this project a couple or more years ago. For those who may not remember, Middletown’s’ Sewer Treatment Plant is obsolete. We voted to pump sewage from Middletown to Cromwell’s Mattabasett sewer treatment plant. After the installation of some of the pipe work was done, Director Guy Russo, who retired this past year, ran out of funding for the project so another $15 million dollars was approved by town voters to complete the work. He assured the Common Council members at that time, $15 million would be more than enough to finish everything, including the pump station. Well, the money is gone, and the pump station cannot be completed. I guess they’ll ask us for more funding AGAIN!

I hear the State of Connecticut will be blamed for the additional cost because they are demanding different mechanical and technical equipment and the like. It’s not the States fault. You don’t ask for bond money without having all your permits, architectural drawings, designs, etc. approved by the State before you begin any portion of the project. It is the City’s fault! Taxpayers’ will be on the hook, again!

There is one exception to the rule - the $35 million bond approved for Park improvement by the voters which had no plan at all. It’s a $35 million blank check to do what the Public Works Department wants to do with it. A Park/Public Works Committee was put in place after the bond was approved to decide what improvements will be made. I have a suggestion. Why not take money needed to complete the Sewer project from the Park bond? The Park bond funding was predicated on building artificial athletic fields. That fell through, so natural turf fields are being constructed. There is a vast difference between the two. There should be a surplus of millions of dollars in the Park bond due to natural field construction.

We keep on hearing about “transparency in government” by our local officials. Yet few question the illegal activities of Mayor Drew. It’s about time both Democrats and Republican Common Council members question this Mayor on his inappropriate behaviors. If they don’t, then they are just as complicit!

In Brotherhood and Sisterhood. Stay strong, stay involved, seek the truth!

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