Councilwoman Kaitlyn Shake Said Hoydick’s Proposed Budget Lacks Transparency

“The Mayor has included 4.7 million of “revenue” but there are ZERO expenses in this budget-related or identified as‘COVID relief’. In fact, it’s nearly identical to the 2020-2021 town budget. We looked at 4 other town budget proposals and none of them are using debt or covid relief funds to balance their 2021-2022 town operating budgets. I don’t understand how we can ignore the needs of our community when it comes to improving the health, safety, and welfare of our residents–especially in the middle of a pandemic. We are not out of the woods yet. As of March 29th Stratford’s infection rate is: 25. cases per 100,000 people.

 

Transparency and accountability are the cornerstones within any level of government. We need to be honest with our taxpayers: This proposal does not include additions to our Economic Development department and cuts funding from RDA and Open Space allocation. The Mayor’s budget as presented to the town council potentially misuses Covid relief funds while increasing our debt and therefore reducing our commitment to Stratford’s future.

 

This is not a budget workshop, but I’d like to make the recommendation to improve HVAC systems and ventilation in ALL municipal buildings–something that I would think COVID relief funds would be identified as appropriate use of funds. Our health department has worked around the clock for the past 365 days yet we are cutting their staff education and immunization clinics? Investing in our public services only yields positive returns as we can then provide resources needed to improve the health and quality of life for our residents–especially for the most vulnerable.

 

This budget does not include COVID relief identified related increases to our public health or public safety departments. There is no reason to rush through this budget process. We have our next regular Town Council meeting on April 12th. We need to know if CT’s Office of Policy and Management and our town attorneys have
identified in writing that it is legal to use COVID relief funds towards our regular recurring municipal operating budget. Until clarification is given I would recommend that we table this until the next meeting so that we have the legal guidance necessary in order to move forward.”

 

Kaitlyn Shake

Stratford District 2, Councilwoman (D)