MOSS: What’s at Stake on November 2nd

Submitted by Cheryl Moss

What’s at Stake on November 2nd?

The most contested race in this year’s election is for control of the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET)

The 12 BET members on the ballot (6 Republicans and 6 Democrats) will determine how your property taxes are spent in town. The party slate receiving the most votes wins control of the BET and the chair gets an extra tie-breaking vote, gaining control of the whole town budget!

The importance of the tie-breaking vote cannot be overstated. In the current fiscal year, the Republican chair’s tie-breaking vote:

  • cut off funding for a study underway on storm preparedness;
  • removed funding for the planned renovation of Julian Curtiss school;
  • delayed funding for the repair of the collapsed ceiling at North Mianus School;
  • denied funding urged by the BOE engineers to examine the deteriorating structures at Central Middle School; and 
  • cut funding for numerous other school and safety projects.

Have you seen the crack monitors at Central Middle School? Instead of funding a study to determine the best plan for the school, we now monitor the building for imminent foundation cracks. Would you let your own house fall into such disrepair that you needed a crack monitor? Funding Town infrastructure over the next decade requires immediate investment and planning. The town is more than three years into a 15-year Master Facilities Plan but the projects have not been started. Why?

Because BET Republicans have obstructed every effort to move the plan forward! 
The last two budget cycles saw widespread public support of the BOE capital requests, but the critical projects were largely denied or delayed, as they have been for decades. This age-old Republican strategy has left us with a backlog of critical projects and higher costs for maintenance and repair. For the Republicans on the BET, keeping the mill rate at the lowest rate possible is the highest priority and the public schools are the primary target for cuts.

Greenwich has the LOWEST mill rate in the entire State of Connecticut, 29% lower than Darien’s and 36% lower than New Canaan’s. Maintaining a low and predictable mill rate while funding and prioritizing Greenwich Public Schools is wholly achievable, despite what the Republicans running for the BET would have you believe.

If the Mill rate were to increase from 11.59 to 12, it would mean an increase of $287 per year on a house assessed at $1m and would generate over $13m in additional revenue. Less than $1 per day would go a long way toward making our schools ADA compliant and safe. Why should our children have to attend schools without playing fields while private schools expand and update?

If you believe in the power of a public school education and want your property values to remain high, VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC BET: Leslie Moriarty, Stephen Selbst, Laura Erickson, Jeff Ramer, Miriam Kreuzer and David Weisbrod