As the attack-mail continues to arrive at our homes, and my opponents trade jabs over who’s responsible for the poor fiscal condition of West Haven, I wonder where is their vision for our future success?
It is true that West Haven is one of nine Connecticut municipalities that Standard & Poor’s Financial Services put on a “Credit Watch List” and an outlook downgrade. O’Brien says that Rossi has given no answers, and Rossi says O’Brien is at fault and back and forth they go. The truth is they both share responsibility for the mess we find ourselves in.
We can’t just cut our way out of this mess as Rossi would advocate. Cuts will have to be made, but that won’t solve all of our problems. The solution is not over-reliance on State aid, where future state handouts are still uncertain. The solution is certainly not the building of more housing. The solution is successful ongoing commercial economic development.
A word on transparency. I find it odd that a developer who is ready to start building a project like The Haven would hold information about potential stores so close to the vest. I would have expected a press release by now detailing the anchor store for the project or a listing of companies who will be locating there, if for no other reason than to convince other businesses of the viability of the project. What’s the big secret?
With the expectation that online shopping will, for the first time outperform box store sales, one would think it important that more progress be shown in addition to just knocking down a few houses.
You can’t put all your eggs in one basket called The Haven and fall flat everywhere else. We must have a vision, create a theme for the areas in West Haven that need to be developed and then actively go out a sell this concept to companies and bring them to West Haven. A biotech corridor, a recreation theme for our shoreline and revitalization of our city center can happen if we create a vision and pursue opportunities.
The Riccio Team has studied successful municipal economic recovery plans throughout the Northeast, and they all have one thing in common. Those communities all went out and sold their concept, the benefits of doing business in their respective locations. That vision has been lacking both in the O’Brien administration and by Nancy Rossi.
That vision won’t be lacking in a Riccio administration.
Rossi sets vision
First, I would like to thank everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to speak with me and my team during this election season. We are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful city, where the residents care so deeply about their community! I would also like to thank my team for their dedicated support and help.
I would like to correct the misinformation, spread by the O’Brien camp, about my record. There was an offer of a debate, not a question-and-answer, prior to the primary, which my opponent states were untrue. The fact is Mr. Greg Little, the News Director of WQUN 1220 AM, extended an invitation to both campaigns for a debate. Mr. Little states that the invitation was always in the form of a debate. Please see the New Haven Register article from Sept. 6.
The General Fund deficit did double during the last four (4) years. In December, 2013, the Unassigned General Fund deficit was $7.8 million, as of June 30. 2016 the Unassigned General Fund deficit of $16.8 million. (June 30, 2016 municipal financial audit). The truth is that Mayor O’Brien has yet to balance a budget with the deficits getting larger each year. The mayor does not understand governmental accounting and has been distorting the facts by picking and choosing different numbers from audit reports trying to confuse voters.
During the last four years a new ordinance entitled the “Balanced Budget Ordinance” was passed as a way to stop deficits from growing. Under the Ordinance, the administration is tasked with delivering to the City Council, by Oct. 30, a budget status report. The administration was also to include in the FY2018 budget, per the Ordinance, an increase to deficit reduction in the amount of $250,000. Neither has happened. The Balanced Budget Ordnance is meaningless if not followed!
Recently, it was stated a $24,000 raise was given to a Director of Finance when I sat as Finance Committee chairman of the City Council. The truth is 4.5 percent of the raise was contractual and, I presented a motion for a $5,000 reduction, which passed the City Council. The mayor was a City Council member at that time, and he seconded the motion to approve the raise, and voted in favor of it with his vote to pass the budget. This is reflected in the City Council minutes of May 1, 2008.
The purchase of the new Allingtown Fire Department apparatus followed the City of West Haven’s Purchasing Ordinance.
The mayor, on the other hand, urged the City Council to approve a bid waiver for the replacement of security cameras in the high school. This bid waiver was given to a long-time political supporter of the Mayor, and many questions arose out of how the project was completed. See the New Haven Register articles of April 6, April 18, and May 3.
I still strongly believe that denying the debt refunding proposed by the mayor was the right decision. The “benefit” and “savings” they speak about came in the form of skipping principal payments and adding years onto the term of the bonds. Skipping payments would have cost the taxpayers much more in the long term! We have not seen a balanced budget since this administration took office in 2013. Had we approved the debt refunding in 2014, we would still have a deficit today and the taxpayers would have paid thousands of dollars more in interest costs because of this debt refunding.
Please don’t be fooled by the unsubstantiated allegations of my opponents. Please visit my website, www.NancyRossi2017.com; my platform outlines my plan for putting West Haven back on the right path. Please do your own homework to research the candidates before you vote. I believe I am the best candidate to lead West Haven out of its financial crisis, because I have the financial expertise and background to balance a budget and to create a much needed culture of fiscal responsibility. West Haven is my home and I truly care about the residents Please vote Row A on Nov. and we will work together to make a West Haven that works for everyone.
City needs Rossi
As a former council person, and someone who has been involved in West Haven for a number of years, let me give you some of the reasons why I am supporting Democratic Candidate Nancy Rossi 100 percent. First, she is a person of integrity. The current Mayor has made light of the fact the she is a Certified Public Accountant, which not only has a rigorous course load and very difficult final testing but it also requires a code of ethics. The reason I am saying this is because being ethical always counts. Why don’t we talk about his record before he become mayor for a minute? He is a business owner that went bankrupt, changed the name of is LLC many times to avoid paying vendors, owed state sales taxes (meaning he collected the money from his customers but didn’t pay the state), and owed back Personal Property Taxes to the City of West Haven. There should be no surprise at how poorly O’Brien is running the city; the only difference is that the tax payers are paying for his lack of ability. I will take a Certified Public Accountant over a repeated failed business owner any day of the week.
Nancy is not here to give jobs away to her friends and family, like the current administration. And let’s be clear, the current mayor has given jobs to his friends, family members and neighbors, at City Hall, the Housing Authority, the Waste Water Treatment Plant, and the Board of Education to people who are not the most qualified by any stretch of imagination, a number of them came off of the unemployment line. Democratic Candidate Rossi understands the value of hiring the most qualified candidates and not ones who are politically connected.
O’Brien criticized Rossi for a raise that was handed out by former Mayor Picard. While that Finance Director who received the raise was here there were balanced budgets, which is something O’Brien has yet to do, the debt and deficit were reduced drastically and controls and procedures were upgraded.
Incidentally, that Finance Director went to another city for considerable more money and has been there ever since and is Now President of GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association). O’Brien, who is being hypocritical, is pointing to a raise of eight years ago in an effort to deflect from his complete fiscal mismanagement instead of accepting responsibility. Remember, O’Brien campaigned in 2013 on cutting the budget 10 percent; instead he grew it by almost $20 million. Nancy is a leader that will accept responsibility and not assign blame. Unlike the current leader, Nancy will work hard for the tax payers instead of political cronies, and she will always put the best interest of the City first.
To sum it up, Democratic Candidate Nancy Rossi has integrity, intelligence, and a backbone which are three things our current mayor is completely lacking
Let me start by saying I’ve had the privilege of knowing the Riccio family for 50 years. Mr. Peter Riccio, who sadly passed away, was my football coach in the Ray Teller Football League. In high school, I played both football and baseball with Pete Jr. and Dave. As many people know I am strongly supporting Ed O’Brien for Mayor.
Personally, I like Dave, but politically we have our differences. Dave’s education platform leaves me with many questions. The main point that concerns me is his plan to “improve student performance by extending the school day”. This is taken directly from his platform on his website.
First and foremost, in order to extend the school day negotiations with the union would have to take place and contracts would have to change. Presently, we have 24 administrators, 530 teachers, 129 paraprofessionals, 34 clerical staff, and 16 nurses. All of these workers need to be compensated. My research shows that to extend the school day by just a half hour it would cost approximately $3.6 MILLION every year!
Furthermore, I do not see the educational value in just adding time to the school day in hopes of improving student performance. Wouldn’t our money be better spent on adding paraprofessionals or spending more per student for materials?
Ed O’Brien has proven himself to be a champion of education. The shops at the high school are flourishing, all day kindergarten is entering its third year and is here to stay, construction of a new high school has begun, and test scores have risen. The arts are thriving and sports are available to all students.
On November 7th, please consider all that I have told you and write in Ed O’Brien to continue improving our education system and fighting to build a stronger West Haven.
Chairman, Board of Education