Submitted by Dan Quigley
Managing our taxpayer dollars is serious business. Balancing the wants and needs of different constituents is never easy, and rarely do the results please everyone. Yet, this is the charge of our BET. Their challenge is to responsibly manage our town’s finances while conscientiously addressing the many capital needs of our community. Our Republican BET has met this challenge, and has a compelling track record on which to run this election season.Capital and maintenance needs are fluid. This is especially true when it comes to our schools. Our schools are one of our most cherished and critical town assets. Not only are they centers of learning and development for our children, but also a magnet for perspective new residents and a source of pride for our community. Over the last fifteen years, predominantly Republican led BET’s have approved over $290,000,000.00 dollars in spending on capital and maintenance throughout the GPS. This includes the renovation of Hamilton Avenue and Glenville Schools, rebuilding of New Lebanon School and the construction of the MISA Performing Arts Center at GHS.
Together, those four major capital projects cost upwards of $130million dollars. In addition, over $160million in funds have been allocated to address overall building maintenance and upkeep throughout the GPS over that span. When the Republican led BET has been called upon to provide for emergency, interim capital needs for our schools, they have met those funding requests without exception and without delay. The recent project to repair North Mianus School is an excellent example. That project is, according to Superintendent Jones, on time and on schedule.
Despite successes, there remain capital challenges facing our GPS. Some require immediate attention. These include, improved air quality in every classroom, upgrades to safety and security and a comprehensive plan to address full ADA compliance once and for all. These items should not be optional, nor should addressing them be contingent on the approval of costly or grandiose infrastructure projects which will take years to complete and whose size, scope and necessity are debatable. For instance, improved air quality can be addressed immediately through the use of American Recovery Act Funds. This can and should be addressed now.
The BET has also approved more than $313million in pubic works infrastructure, $32million in public safety upgrades and $33million in parks and recreation projects over the same span. Projects have included Cos Cob Park, a new Byram Pool and a new downtown Firehouse and Safety complex. As we assess BET capital spending over the last 15 years, one thing becomes clear; that a predominately Republican led BET has approved over $700million dollars to fulfill the capital needs of our community. They accomplished this, despite having had to navigate a global financial crisis and the recent pandemic during this time.
There is an inherent push and pull in government between wants and needs. While our Federal and State governments have long ago crossed the point of no return with regard to irresponsible fiscal management and debt fueled, runaway spending, Greenwich has not followed suit.
Your Republican BET Team is focused, determined and confident that they can continue to successfully guide our community through the financial challenges of the future. By applying fiscal discipline to the budget process, delivering best in class schools, services and amenities and proactively engaging with our community, we hope our Republican BET will continue to earn your trust and support this election season.
I humbly ask you to cast your vote for Nisha Arora, Mike Basham, Bill Drake, Karen Fassuliotis, Dan Ozizmir and Leslie Tarkington this November 2nd.