From Letters to the Editor – Be Informed

Welcome.

The New Fairfield Democratic Town Committee wants to help keep you informed of significant town events and news from our elected officials and Letters to the Editor in response to the news and statements by others in town.  You can see that Important Information and News for the Town here.

2022

This is another important year for all of us, with the budget referendum coming this spring, and a state election later this year.  We often have members respond to news and statements by others in town.  We will provide you those letters to help you be informed.



Support the 2022-2023 Budget

As published in the Letters and Opinions in the Town Tribune, Section 1, May 12, 2022, PAGE 12

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Vote yes for the town and school budgets this Saturday!  Both budgets have been cut to the minimum needed to cover essential services, to make room for the bonding that will be required this coming year for the new schools that we’ve approved for our town.  Any further cuts to town or school budgets for the coming year would eliminate needed programs for our students as they recover from the effects of the pandemic, cause layoffs among teachers or town staff, or result in deficits for our roads and town infrastructure.  And would require bigger budget increases in the future to make up for the damage from cuts this year.  Slow and steady investment year after year is the best way to ensure the future of our town.

If you can’t make it to the polls on Saturday, you can vote in person this week in the town offices.

Keith Landa


Support the 2022-2023 Budget

As published in the Letters and Opinions in the Town Tribune, Section 1, May 12, 2022, PAGE 12

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I want to express my support for the budget passed by the Board of Finance on 4/20 and urge people to vote yes on May 14th at the budget referendum from 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. If passed, we will see a 3.11% increase consistent with past tax increases. If the budget is approved, taxpayers with a property tax bill of $7000 will see an increase of around $18.15 a month. This budget supports essential services needed by the schools and towns are we start moving forward from the last few years. It is vital that both the town and school budgets pass so that we don’t see a reduction in staff at both the town and the schools. I am personally supporting the budget because, as a 2015 graduate from New Fairfield High School and a resident of New Fairfield, I want to see our town and our schools thrive, and this budget will allow them to do that. Both the Board of Selectman and the Board of Education presented lean budgets. Please VOTE YES on May 14th at New Fairfield Middle School Cafeteria.

Olivia Micca


Re: David Coleman’s BOF COMMENTS 4/20/2022

As published in the Letters and Opinions in the Town Tribune, Section 1, May 5, 2022, PAGE 11

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One of the unfortunate aspects of this year’s debate over the budget for our schools and town is the amount of just plain wrong information that is being circulated.  It’s especially distressing if the source of that wrong information is an elected official who was in the center of the budget debate.  Last week’s letter submitted by David Coleman, an alternate member of the Board of Finance, contained a serious misstatement that could mislead voters.

The proposed property tax increase for this coming year is 3.11%.  This is an all-in number and includes the debt service for building two new schools, contrary to Mr. Coleman’s assertion that it is not included and taxpayers are on the hook for more.  Either Mr. Coleman is intentionally misleading voters by his misstatement – or he truly did not understand the two months of presentations and debate that he was part of.  Either case is not a good result for New Fairfield voters.

The budget proposal with its 3.11% increase is fair.  It provides the support our schools and town need to provide basic services as we come out of the past few year’s difficulties.  Not only does the proposed increase include the debt service for the new schools, but it also incorporates additional funds to address inflation and increased special education needs.  Defeating the proposal will result in cuts to required educational and municipal services.

Vote Yes on the budget referendum when it is scheduled for later this month.

Joliset Miller

New Fairfield


Support the 2022-2023 Budget/

David Coleman’s BOF Comments 4/20/2022

As published in the Letters and Opinions in the Town Tribune, Section 1, May 5, 2022, PAGE 1122 Olivia_Treatment_04

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First and foremost I want to express my support for the budget passed by the Board of Finance on 4/20 and urge people to vote yes on the date of the budget referendum. If passed we will see a 3.11% increase which is consistent with past tax increases. As noted in Selectman Khris Hall’s column last week, for taxpayers with a property tax bill of $7000, the approximate increase will be around $18.15 a month. It is important that both the town and school budgets pass so that we don’t see a reduction of staff at both the town and the schools. Both the Board of Selectman and the Board of Education presented lean budgets. Please VOTE YES at the referendum. Secondly, I want to again make the townspeople aware of disgusting and degrading comments made by Board of Finance Alternate David Coleman during the 4/20 Board of Finance meeting regarding children enrolled in our town’s special education program. The comments insinuated that “a child like that” is a burden to their families along with the comment “if they even graduate”. These comments are disgusting, offensive, and demeaning to a valuable part of our population. I am asking that the board requires Mr. Coleman to make a public apology at the next meeting and that he resigns from the board. Someone who makes comments like that should NOT be in public office and gives New Fairfield a bad look. This is something the voters will not forget and we will continue to hold Mr. Coleman accountable until action is taken.

Olivia Micca

New Fairfield


IT WAS THE BEST OF MEETINGS,
IT WAS THE WORST OF MEETINGS

As published in the Letters and Opinions in the Town Tribune, Section 1, April 28, 2022, PAGE 9

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22 Kruzykowski Rob IMG_0804On April 20 the Board of Finance met to vote (yet again) whether to pass the Board of Selectman and Board of Education’s budgets to the citizens of New Fairfield for a vote. I must say I was thrilled beyond words to hear that resolution pass. Thanks to those members who voted yes. You heard the will of the people and you delivered. We shall not forget.

However, this result was bittersweet as earlier in the meeting alternate member, Dave Coleman, made some disparaging remarks. There was some discussion on the revised budget the Board of Education had met to discuss and vote on during a special meeting held on April 19. It was unanimously supported by all members of the BOE and sent to the BOF. There were revisions to some line items but two were significant. There was a 68.15% increase in the Special Education line item. A big increase for sure but one that the BOE felt necessary. In discussing the increase of the Special Education line item at time stamp 1:00:37, after making some remarks about what may be the reason for such an increase, Dave says, “I certainly feel for any family that winds up in a situation with a child like that.” Wow, just wow. We don’t need pity. Dave had made other comments along the same tone at this meeting, but I’m limited to space here. What astounds me is the idea that families and children with different educational challenges need or deserve pity. What we would appreciate is support, understanding, and the resources to help our children succeed as best they can. The statements made were thoughtless, inappropriate, and demeaning to an entire segment of our population. As an elected official to openly marginalize part of our community, is unforgivable. Elected officials represent ALL the people of New Fairfield, yes, including children “like that” and their families. It’s clear to me the entire BOF can benefit from sensitivity training (as evidenced by the virtual silence from the rest of the Board but one) as these matters will continue to be discussed every year. More important is what can be done about Dave Coleman? I would suggest at least censure, or this may be too much to hope for, resignation.

Rob Kruzykowski

New Fairfield


Re: David Coleman’s BOF COMMENTS 4/20/2022

As published in the Letters and Opinions in the Town Tribune, Section 1, April 28, 2022, PAGE 1622 Olivia_Treatment_04

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I want to make the townspeople aware of disgusting and degrading comments made by Board of Finance Alternate David Coleman during the 4/20 Board of Finance meeting regarding children enrolled in our town’s special education program. The comments insinuated that “a child like that” is a burden to their families along with the comment “if they even graduate”. These comments are disgusting, offensive, and demeaning to a valuable part of our population. Mr. Coleman has made disgusting comments in the past including that citizens speaking were a part of an organized political group, insulting the intelligence of the public commenters, and his behavior towards other board members, especially women is unacceptable. I am asking that the board requires Mr. Coleman to make a public apology at the next meeting and that he resigns from the board. Someone who makes comments like that should NOT be in public office and gives New Fairfield a bad look. This is something the voters will not forget and we will continue to hold Mr. Coleman accountable until action is taken.

Olivia Micca

Vice Chair of the New Fairfield Democratic Town Committee


RE: DEBUNKING MS. BENISON’S TEST KIT CLAIMS

As published in the Letters and Opinions in the Town Tribune, Section 1, February 3, 2022, PAGE 1022 Kruzykowski Rob IMG_0804

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I’ve just read Ms. Benison’s column in the January 27 issue. My head is spinning as I am trying to understand how she can devote most of her column throwing around accusations and sowing seeds of divisiveness but close it by claiming she wants to “work together” for the betterment of our town. There is so much to digest and respond to but, since space is limited, I will address one issue that stands out to me.

It is quite evident that COVID is the hot topic she is counting on to gain sympathy. I must say that I personally find it abhorrent that a public health issue is being used as a political tool, not only by Ms. Benison, but by many elected officials in this country. She is making it quite obvious this IS political when the first thing she mentions is the party affiliation of the three selectmen (2 against 1). Let me address some of the points she makes. When the town receives anything from the state, either funds or materials, they come with specific instructions on use and/or distribution. The town followed the instructions as to distribution of these test kits. Some were set aside for school personnel, but the remainder was allocated to our most vulnerable population and the general population as a whole. What Ms. Benison fails to mention is that there ARE test kits allocated to first responders, actually 200, more than double the 75 she asked for. Many of them have not been claimed, they are sitting in storage for any one of our first responders to use. It appears that Ms. Benison is omitting some facts to make herself look like the victim of a conspiracy to alienate her, and to portray the other two Selectmen as not caring about our first responders.

Ms. Benison, I am hoping that coming out guns blazing, attacking your colleagues is just a knee jerk reaction of being newly elected and trying to understand your role in this office. I would suggest that drawing party lines and burning bridges of communication between yourself and your two colleagues is not the way to start. You claim to want to work together, well, actions speak louder than words.

Rob Kruzykowski

New Fairfield


In Response to Selectman Lori-Ann Beninson’s Column

As published in the Letters and Opinions in the Town Tribune, Section 1, February 3, 2022, PAGE 1122 Olivia_Treatment_04

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The comments of Selectman Lori-Ann Beninson in her column last week concerning the task force created to review how to spend the $4.1 million in federal funding under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) are way off-base. This task force, similar to task forces in most other towns, is made up of the elected Board of Selectmen (including Selectman Beninson) and municipal department heads who have expertise on needs in New Fairfield. The task force has been convening in open meetings that are recorded since this past summer; several members of the public have attended these meetings.

All decisions on expenditure of the ARPA funds recommended by the task force will be reviewed and voted on by the Boards of Finance and Selectmen and ultimately put before us as the taxpayers for final approval.  Contrary to Selectman Beninson’s assertion, this is full transparency and accountability.

One of the issues reviewed at the January 12th meeting of the ARPA task force, as highlighted by Selectman Beninson, was the possible use of ARPA funding to complete the engineering study required to move forward with a proposal to construct a connection to the Danbury sewage treatment plant for the commercial establishments in the center of town and our schools.  ARPA funding is specifically available for this purpose and other towns are taking advantage of it.  As an Alternate Member of the Planning Commission, I am very interested in this project and do not share Selectman Beninson’s skepticism about it.  Many of the aging septic systems that support our businesses in town are failing.  The septic systems supporting our schools are problematic.

Lack of a sewer system connection is the single biggest reason we can’t get a greater variety of businesses in town, such as a brewery or bagel shop.  Furthermore, it was specifically stated at the January ARPA meeting that the proposed sewer connection is not being designed to support an affordable housing development nor would the cost of the study fall on homeowners. I urge everyone to keep an open mind on this issue and to fully understand the facts when this issue is put to a decision later this year.

Olivia Micca

New Fairfield


LET’S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON TRANSPARENCY

As published in the Letters and Opinions in the Town Tribune, Section 1, February 3, 2022, PAGE 1122 Josh_Select_2_Treatment_04

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With transparency comes accountability. In government, maintaining a high standard for both is crucial to keep people’s trust in their elected leaders. With that in mind, I’m disappointed by Selectman Beninson’s recent column which is surprisingly lacking in both transparency and accountability.

First, anyone who calls town hall can ask about how our local covid test distribution works. The town’s efforts to promote and streamline distribution has received high praise from residents. On seeing Selectman Beninson’s claim that her request for 75 test kits for first responders was denied, I called the First Selectman’s office to inquire and found out she followed the guidance for distribution from the state Department of Public Health and the Governor’s office and set aside over 200 test kits for first responders.  Facts matter.

Additionally, I am extremely disappointed about Selectman Beninson’s comments regarding the appointment of Board of Finance chair Wes Marsh. Wes has served the Board of Finance for 17 years, including 12 years as chair. During those years he received bipartisan support when the Board of Finance has had both Republican and Democratic majorities. His leadership and stewardship of our tax dollars is well known and documented. Selectman Beninson is well-aware of Wes’s qualification as they both serve together in the Lions Club.

Missing from Selectman Beninson’s statement on transparency is the fact that the Board of Selectman appointed Mr. Marsh as Finance Board chair because of Board of Finance had a tie vote for chairman, with Mr. Marsh receiving the support of Republican Mike Cammarota as well as two Democratic members.  Under State statute, the decision falls to the Board of Selectmen if there is a tie.  Members of the Board of Selectmen were already well acquainted with the qualifications of both Mr. Marsh and Thora Perkins, a new member of the Board of Finance who also sought the position.  No other candidates could be considered.  As both First Selectman Del Monaco and Selectman Hall stated at the Board of Selectmen meeting where the decision was made, they chose Mr. Marsh’s experience and proven ability to lead the town through a very difficult budget year over Mrs. Perkin’s enthusiasm but lack of experience and knowledge of town finances. The process and reasoning were fully transparent.

Finally in Selectman Beninson’s own words, “Diversity of opinion is the bedrock of democratic society and leads to the best kind of decision making.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. As the Democratic town chair, it was a goal of mine and many of our candidates to talk to voters about where they stood on the issues. Unfortunately, I did not see much of the same from Republican candidates. I look forward, as a parent and taxpayer, to fewer political diatribes and more concrete information about the difficult balancing required to maintain both affordability and the quality of life in New Fairfield.

Joshua Beckett Flores
Democratic Town Chairman
New Fairfield


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