11 thoughts on “Letter: Mike Mauro for Town Council

  1. Mike Mauro is one of a few people I watch on Channel 79 (in spite of background noise) that when he talks, actual says something of value. He should be listened to more carefully.

  2. It goes without saying that Mike Mauro is a positive asset on the Town Council and has earned our respect and encouragement to be re-elected. I will take issue of your statement that he is “one of the few elected officials” who want fiscal common sense. My reaction is far more than personal, rather how it reflects on the BOS, BOF, BOE and TC. Given the extraordinary scrutiny paid to the just passed budget, don’t you think that reflects the concern and commitment to fiscal common sense by all our elected and appointed bodies? The Republican slate is an extremely strong, fiscally responsible one — I look forward to the slate with Mike being elected.

  3. Mike Mauro, along with Maria/Bob Naughton, is one of a handful of consistently fiscally conservative residents running or currently serving as a rep. Common sense means knowing that New Canaan having the second highest spending per resident of 169 towns in CT (and the highest debt per resident in CT) is problematic and indicative of waste/inefficiencies. When residents have a 7.5% property tax rate increase and continually declining home values how well are you being represented? This can not all be blamed on Hartford! We have local choice about how much we spend/tax! Mike Mauro recognizes this fully and fights for the common sense principles we all would use in managing our household or business. I wish there was more like him.

    • I won’t go into the macroeconomic impacts and bad policies in Hartford that are impacting property values not only here but in Darien and Greenwich too, but will keep it this discussion to local matters. To clarify, town leaders of New Canaan bent the budget curve for FY2019 and kept the budget flat – a 0% increase for FY2020. The mill rate increase was solely due to the results of the State mandated 5 year revaluation of all properties in town, not due to any additional budgeted spending by the town. The impact on absolute property taxes in dollars by property depended on each individual property’s revaluation. By contrast, the implementation of green initiatives in town, like solar and the expansion of natural gas has already helped to reduce operating costs of New Canaan’s schools and will continue to save New Canaan millions in the years to come. Smart initiatives such as these have a lasting positive impact on not only the environment, but also on budgeting. We also have to acknowledge when it comes to debt that Hartford gives New Canaan almost zero funding when it comes to any renovations for our town’s schools (like the recent Saxe and NCHS projects) relative to other towns that get reimbursed 50-100% of their school building costs by the State. We not only pay for the rest of the States’ schools through our state income tax dollars we also have to pay for our own New Canaan building projects entirely through our property taxes. Other towns like Greenwich and Darien are in a similar situation as well, but their commercial base is significantly larger than that of New Canaan and helps provide a greater share of property revenues to their town’s coffers. Understanding the underlying how and why is more complex and important….

      • Maria, we largely agree re: Hartford. Some of your other points are misleading or incomplete. Here are the facts/data:

        1. New Canaan’s property tax rate of 18.24 would still be much higher than Darien and Greenwich even if you made their Commercial and Industrial (C&I) grand list value as a % of total grand list the same as ours. Darien’s property tax rate would go from 16.47 to ~16.95 (we’d still be ~8% higher than them) and Greenwich’s property tax rate would go from ~11 to ~high 12’s (we’d still be ~40% than them). The reason we are much higher is because our budgets have not been managed in a fiscally conservative way for a long time, but especially from 1996 – 2012 when our spending increased around 160% over 16 years. That’s how you wind up with the highest debt per resident in CT and the second highest spending per resident. Hopefully that changes dramatically. Anything less should be unacceptable.

        2. No town in Fairfield County should be used as a model of fiscal prudence.

        3. You are ignoring the disproportionate spending other towns and cities have to make on social ills that we have to expend less on. You also ignore the large % of potentially taxable property in CT cities that is tax exempt because the property is owned by CT or belongs to a non-profit like some universities and hospitals. Take the city of Hartford — over 50% of their land is tax-exempt. Despite this New Canaan’s spending per resident is ~2x as big as Bridgeport, for example. Kind of astonishing.

  4. I’m getting a little tired of being told that the only thing that matters to the people of New Canaan is that our officials be”fiscally re sponsible.” I agree with Penny Young that the last budget approval process made it clear that our representatives ARE fiscally responsible. The only way to reduce the town budget now is to make significant cuts in school costs, which consumes about 80% of the town’s budget. What exactly do those who demand reductions in spending want to cut from our schools? It must be labor costs, because that’s where most of the school budget goes. Are teachers being paid too much (ridiculous), and how do you propose to reduce contractually-mandated salaries and benefits? And if you’d like to cut the remainder of the Town budget, do we take a pound of flesh out of the Police Dept. or the Fire Dept.? Do we stop repairing the roads (Please no!) Or plowing the snow or repairing buildings? Charges of waste and inefficiency are easy to make, but when it comes down to it, people want the services provided by the Town and the schools, they just don’t want to pay for them.
    What’s important now is that we maintain the highest quality schools and keep the town safe and well-run. I support people who want to talk about how that’s done, not just how much money they SAY they will save us.

  5. Ben, I haven’t seen or heard anything insinuating that the only thing people care about in NC is fiscal responsibility, though more of it would be nice! The majority came to NC for a variety of factors: the beautiful downtown, strong schools, decent commute to NYC, etc. Obviously all of that costs money to maintain. What I — and I think others are saying — is that finding efficiencies with taxpayer spending is the area where we have the greatest room for improvement relative to our peer group. One year of a flat budget that had one-time benefits and a 7.5% property tax rate increase does not make our fiscal responsibility “clear!” Do you not think the town that spends the second most per resident in a spendthrift state and has the highest debt per resident has the opportunity to flatten spending while maintaining excellent services? Our town spending went up roughly 160% over a 16 year period from 1996 – 2012 — do you find that acceptable? You may, which is OK for you but may not be OK for others. Regardless of political affiliation, common sense individuals realize those stats reflect overspending and lack of efficiency. Mike Mauro has made deep dives into the budget and made it a priority to spend within our means, knowing what is coming from Hartford exacerbates our situation. Mike has consistently advocated for fiscally conservative budgets that lower the cost of living for everyone, including the seniors that are increasingly leaving our town and state partially due to cost of living increases. To many, living in NC is a financial stretc — or a financial burden given home devaluation — that has become harder to manage over time. Mike understands that first hand.

    You were on the Building Use Committee — do you not feel that there are better ways of spending taxpayer dollars than the ~$350,000 in rent every year for a couple dozen BOE administrators on 39 Locust Ave? This excludes the substantial one-time renovation costs taxpayers incurred on a rental property.

    Since this email thread should focus on Mike Mauro I’m happy to continue the discussion if you wish. My email is jdb435@nyu.edu.

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