To the Editor:
New Britain voters planning on voting for Mayor Stewart based on her handling of city finances should take a close look at the city’s new debt repayment schedule prepared at her direction by William Blair & Company, the city’s underwriter for municipal debt, and approved by her always agreeable Republican Council.
Voters should know what’s in store for them with another Stewart term. Here’s the fixed cost payment schedule and tax impact of her plan.
2017 – an election year. Conveniently, no increased payments due, no tax increase needed.
2018 - $2.3 million increase in payments due over 2017 level; approximately one-mill additional tax increase needed.
2019 - $4.0 million increase in payments due over 2018 level; approximately two-mill additional tax increase needed.
2020 - $8.0 million increase in payments due over 2019 level; approximately three-mill additional tax increase needed.
That’s six mills, or more than a 10 percent tax increase, in three years.
Again these numbers are available in a Jan. 11, 2017 report to the City Council from William Blair & Company. In total, Mayor Stewart’s debt repayment plan will cost New Britain taxpayers an additional $75 million over the next 20 years. By 2019, of course, if her plans come to fruition, Mayor Stewart will be in Washington or Hartford and someone else, along with local taxpayers, will be left holding the tax bill for what only can be viewed as an irresponsible and self-serving plan. By comparison, over the next few years, New Britain’s annual debt service payment of $39.7 million will be nearly equal to the city of Hartford, a community 50 percent larger than New Britain.
There’s an old saying that goes “All that glitters is not gold.” When it comes to New Britain’s finances, that could not be truer. Twelve years of Stewart budget policy has taken its toll. We need an honest approach to city finances and that can only come with a change in leadership in the mayor’s office.