Editorial: An open letter to our town’s state legislators

Dear Southington’s state lawmakers:

Please get back to work. Our town desperately needs a state budget, and we’re still waiting for each one of you to deliver on the promises you made during the last election. The most important thing we expect from you is to play your part in Hartford before you focus on self-promotion.

The trend started in April when the town’s State Sen. Joe Markley (R) announced his campaign for lieutenant governor. It continued in June when Southington’s Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Southington, Berlin) chose a party fundraiser over budget talks. Now, we’re hearing about two of our local representatives looking to move up the ladder—Rob Sampson (R) is considering a potential run if Markley’s senate seat opens and rookie Liz Linehan (D) threw her hat in the ring as a running mate in the governor’s race.

We think it’s great that you are so concerned with next year’s election, but how about you work on this year’s budget first? After all, it should have been finalized months ago.

Southington’s Board of Education finalized their budget on time (although we’re still waiting to see if there’s any state money to help fund your many state mandates). Our Town Manager finalized his budget (even though he’s dealing with a hiring freeze while we wait for you to do your job). Our Town Council studied every line of every budget to make sure we balanced the books. Our Finance Board tightened the purse strings while we continue to wait for your decisions.

Enough already. Do your jobs. We don’t want to hear how you’re finally reaching common ground (we should have heard that in March). We don’t want to hear about how it’s one side’s fault or the other’s (our town parties worked for a bipartisan budget). And we definitely don’t want to hear about how you’re thinking about promotions when you can’t seem to handle your current jobs. Your system is broken.

We know you have difficult jobs, but that’s why we chose you. We’ve been dealing with the same issues—stretching dollars, cutting spending without cutting services, making difficult cuts without raising taxes, and compromising for the greater good. Perhaps you should take a page from us.

Our police are seriously understaffed with a wave of retirements and a hiring freeze, but they are still going over and above the call of duty despite growing work demands. At last week’s Police Commissioner’s meeting, Chief Jack Daly shared thank you letters to officers Ken Kizilski, Donald Mackenzie, Tom Atterato, Chad Butler, Paul Carrubba, and Jim Valentine, as well as Animal Control Officer Joshua Karabin, Sgts. Jeff Ward and Timothy Wilk, Lt. Mike Baribault, and two for the chief. Despite their staffing issues, the entire police force was acknowledged for rallying around a family victimized by a carjacking and helping out at the Travelers golf championship. We are amazed at their commitment.

Our library—already undersized and understaffed—continues to schedule programs even though they lost about 12 percent of their staffing in the middle of a hiring freeze.

Our fire department is divided and still searching for a chief, yet they answered over 60 calls reported in this edition, alone. Every department from highway to parks and every work place in our schools and town hall is pitching in.

So, please, representatives. Focus on the issue in front of you—the budget—not your future aspirations. Stop making excuses, and start solving problems.

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