LETTER: In Greenwich, the town government barely funds public services

Submitted by Austin Janssen

In Greenwich, the town government barely funds public services.

Since 2019, when Republicans took control of the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET), they have underfunded capital project investments. Their disdain for the residents was displayed when they cut $5.9 million in department funding in 2020 when people needed the government’s help during the pandemic.

The BET congratulated the first selectman by raising his salary by $3,824 for underfunding these long-needed renovations. This lack of interest in helping the public has manifested in shocking ways.

One example is underfunding Old Greenwich School, founded in 1923. Things have gotten so bad that parents carry their injured children up the stairs with no ADA-accessible elevator available. Some students cannot attend their local school due lacking ADA compliance and an inability to make reasonable accommodations.

This should be enough for a renovation, but it worsens. A Greenwich Free Press article (Feb 6, 2023) quoted an Old Greenwich School parent saying, “At a recent parent-teacher visit, ‘Principal B’ was apologizing to new parents for the stench that reminded us of New York City gutters on 100° days.” The health issues worsen due to not having an HVAC air conditioning system. Only after public outcry, the BET allocated $2.5 million for “planning.”

When the teachers try to circulate the air in the classroom, it can be dangerous, especially during the cold winters. This shouldn’t happen in our kids’ schools. We ultimately elect leaders to serve us, not themselves. It is past time that the BET steps up to do its job and renovate the schools.