LETTER: Budget Cuts or One-Time “Pandemic Bond”

Open letter from David A. Levine

As parents of a kindergartener at Julian Curtiss, we were startled to see headlines about “$3MM budget cuts” and “30-50 teachers fired.”

My wife and her family grew up attending Greenwich Public Schools, and my Great-Great Grandparents lived here generations ago. We love this town and were concerned by such troubling headlines.

Thankfully, we have come to understand these headlines aren’t reflecting the whole picture – that really the proposed School Budget Cuts are simply part of a process by the BET to get all departments to “tighten our belts” given the revenue shortfall caused by the Coronavirus.

While understandable, I’d like to propose an alternative modeled after what is happening at the Federal Government level today:

Why not do a one-time “Pandemic Bond” issuance to bridge the revenue shortfall caused by this unprecedented pandemic?

Greenwich has a strong budget, credit rating and financial position. That means we are in a position of strength – we have the municipal firepower to weather this storm and have been previously cautious in case a “rainy day” came.

It is hard to imagine a more appropriate time to rely on that Fiscal Strength and to benefit from our strong financial position than now.

A one-time “Pandemic Bond” would be highly attractive to potential lenders and would help our city make it through this challenging time without further damaging our economy – budget cuts reduce economic growth when we need it most.

I hope you at least consider this alternative as you finalize the budget in the coming weeks and months.

David A. Levine
Greenwich, CT