Rossi takes issue with points made in O’Brien’s recent letter
The Sept. 7 edition of the West Haven Voice contained a letter from Mayor O’Brien trying to defend his fiscal record by blaming others.
The truth is that when Mayor O’Brien took office in 2013 the General Fund had a deficit of ($7,776,649). The 2016 audit showed the General Fund had a deficit of ($16,736,064.00). The General Fund is the fund that shows the results of the city’s operations. The General Fund has the budgeted amounts for Revenue and Expenses. If the revenues are greater than expenditures, there would be a surplus. If the expenditures are more than the revenue, as is the case with all Mayor O’Brien’s budgets, there is a deficit. The other funds the mayor mentioned are meant to fluctuate and he uses to confuse the reader. Mayor O’Brien has not balanced a budget and each budget had a larger deficit. He has more than doubled the deficit in three years.
Mayor O’Brien goes on to say that department heads instituted a 5 percent budget cut and positions were left unfilled. Again the truth is he filled positions and that he has budget expenditures increases in each of his budgets.
Mayor O’Brien stated he states, “Issuing deficit bonds allows some breathing room for our city finances and improves cash flow.” He goes on to state the then City Council and myself rejected the plan. The truth is Mayor O’Brien never presented deficit bonding during my time on the City Council. What was proposed was a refunding package, that included skipping debt payments, increasing the terms of the bonds, and increasing the amount of interest that would have to be paid in the future.
The refunding plan he put forward kicked the can down the road and would have cost the taxpayer’s money! The City Council did approve a part of what the mayor proposed, a bond refunding that actually kept terms the same, no skipping of payments, and a lower interest rate, which saved taxpayers $1.7 million!
Mayor O’Brien totes as an accomplishment the passing of the balanced budget ordinance, which I agree, was a good ordinance but needs some teeth. The problem and bottom line is–he still has not produced a balanced budget!
Mayor O’Brien’s economic development plan historically appears for a few weeks before a primary and disappears after an election. The Havens project, which I support and voted for, was handed to him with a signed commitment from the previous mayor, yet four years later nothing is happening there except blight! There is absolutely no excuse for this project not to be completed. The previous City Council, myself included, worked together and passed six motions unanimously to clear the way for the Haven Project.
I want to discuss the issues truthfully and transparently. Mayor O’Brien’s record shows he has not been truthful and has failed the City of West Haven and our residents.