Submitted by Bill Drake, Andy Duus, Karen Fassuliotis, Debra Hess, Michael Mason, and Leslie Tarkington,
incumbent Republican candidates for election to the Board of Estimate and Taxation on November 5, 2019
The Republican Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) candidates understand the way to keep Greenwich affordable and the Town’s mill rate low is to manage the Town’s revenues and expenses, not to lower taxes by dipping into the Town’s fund balance.
Fund balance, sometimes described as the Town’s rainy day fund, is better known as working capital in the private sector. At the end of every budget year, the town transfers to its fund balance any unspent monies. In recent years the BET has applied a percentage of these returned funds to reduce the amount of taxes required to lower the mill rate and/or support the Town’s other revenue funds including the Nathaniel Witherell and Risk Fund prior to the proposed budget being submitted by the BET to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for approval.
For the current fiscal year, in a vote according to party lines, the BET Democrats used their tie-breaking vote to use additional fund balance after the RTM had approved the proposed budget. This action lowered the mill rate below what had been shown earlier to the RTM. Republican BET members unanimously favor a policy of low taxes. This can be done by using more fund balance to lower taxes in any one year. However, doing so can have unfavorable consequences.
Every year that the Town issues debt, the rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s review their debt ratings for the Town. Retaining the town’s “AAA” debt rating is critically important to keep Town borrowing costs low.
These rating agencies analyze the Town’s operations and provide guidance as to the level of fund balance that the Town should hold.
At the time of the establishment of the fund balance policy in FY10, the Town’s fund balance was $5.1 million. Over the ten years since, the BET policy has been able to build and maintain the town’s fund balance between 5% to 10% of the general fund expenditures. For FY19, the fund balance is a strong $62.8 million.
Thanks to the current policy of modified pay-as-you-go financing, this has been acceptable to the ratings agencies, even when they call for other Connecticut municipalities with “AAA” – rated debt to have a higher fund balance percentage of up to 20%. If our debt outstanding continues to increase, however, the ratings agencies may require our Town to increase the fund balance, which can impact the taxes you pay.
As the six Republican members of the BET – Bill Drake, Andy Duus, Karen Fassuliotis, Debra Hess, Michael Mason and Leslie Tarkington – we work for the Town’s residents to keep Greenwich affordable and the Town’s taxes low. We will continue to do this by managing Town revenues and expenses and maintaining the fund balance within the rating agencies recommended range. We are committed to continuing to make Greenwich the best place to live, raise a family, start a business, or retire.
Bill Drake, Andy Duus, Karen Fassuliotis, Debra Hess, Michael Mason, and Leslie Tarkington are the
incumbent Republican candidates for election to the Board of Estimate and Taxation on November 5th
The deadline for submitting letters to the editor about candidates for the Nov 5,2 019 election was Tuesday, Oct 29 at 5:00pm