Collins’ deficits more than dollars
City Clerk Collins has had a deficit in her budget results in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, of a cumulative total of ($97,155). Ms. Collins claims it is for Election expense but yet the Election Day Expense line item has been within budget for the same years. The line items that are in deficit are Regular Wages and Other Contractual Services. The cumulative deficit amounts are ($18,854) and ($102,073) respectively.
If a department head cannot manage the Regular Wage Account that is mismanagement. Why would the Regular Wage Account be in deficit? Overtime has a separate account and vacations are charged to a different line item in the City budget and are not charged to the individual departments.
Other Contractual Services has a much larger deficit and the City Clerk has used it as a catch all for expenditures in her department whether authorized or not. There is also a process outlined in the City Charter, if a line item is expected to go into deficit, the Department Head, Ms. Collins, should apply for a transfer and bring it before the City Council. No credible evidence has been brought forward from Ms. Collins showing denial of transfers by the City Council. It appears Ms. Collins didn’t bring transfers forward to the City Council for approval, a direct violation of the City Charter.
Certified Public Accountants look at much more than the bottom line, they look at all the numbers, the policies and procedures and in this case the governing laws of the City of West Haven, which is the City Charter. Ms. Collins challenged me for the details and the whole story; I have complied with her request. Should Ms. Collins not understand this and need more clarification, I would be happy to discuss this topic at the debate on Sept. 4.
City’s educators should keep seats
As any Westie knows Sept. 10 is Primary Day. The Board of Education has five incumbents who are running to keep their seats. They are Democrats Patrick Leigh, Karen Pacelli and Susan Walker. and Republicans, Patricia Libero and Robert Guthrie. All five have served for the past four years and have done an excellent job. Each one brings his own area of expertise to table. Throughout the past four years this board has rolled up its sleeves and gotten the work done. Budgets have been balanced, curriculum has been reviewed, technology has expanded throughout the entire district and Board Members have routinely visited schools and attended after school activities. Meetings have taken place the first and third Mondays of each month and not once has a meeting been cancelled for lack of a quorum. This is a board of adults from all different backgrounds who work together for the sole purpose of our children. We are a board who agrees to disagree but always manages to work well together.
Robert Guthrie and Pat Libero have both been endorsed by the Republican Party. The three Democratic candidates have not been endorsed by their party, but are running on Debbie Collins’ ticket. The lack of endorsement causes me to wonder why? All five of these members have worked tirelessly for our children. All are competent, honest and have integrity, but yet only two received endorsements. This is a board that works so well together and has been successful. It makes me ask the question, why would we change course now if all the incumbents are willing to run and serve again? Why would we intentionally dissolve a Board that has a proven record of success? There was never an explanation given, which leads me to assume that it is political. This is a very dangerous slope to go down. The Board of Education’s main focus should be on providing quality education not political advancements.
City’s educators endured setbacks
We are Westies! We support one another!
Through everyone’s efforts, our system endured and survived unbelievable loss. We supported one another, we cried with one another, we laughed with one another, reminisced with one another and then said: We are Westies! In memory of all those we lost, let us continue to be kind and caring. Let us show one another that they matter.
For the new hires:Welcome aboard! You will soon witness the power of being a Westie and the love and kindness that goes with it. We look forward to you also loving the Blue and White!
Here’s to another successful year!
You make me proud every day.
Proud former WH educator Present BOE member, honored to serve
Rossi deserves a second term
Mayor Nancy Rossi deserves another term as mayor. The mayor has made major accomplishments in a short 21 months.
The financial condition of the city was and continues to be the top priority for Mayor Rossi and her administration. As a result the city has had two balanced budgets; a fund balance (rainy-day fund) for the first time in 14 years and our bond rating outlook was upgraded from negative to stable. This is the first step to getting an overall bond rating upgrade. Just the outlook upgrade will save taxpayer money on future borrowing costs.
Economic development projects are moving forward and small businesses are opening and expanding throughout the city. “The Havens” was stalled and needed both federal approval (Bayview Park) and state approvals (grant funding and transportation), all of which have now been received. The Parkview development in Allingtown was stalled because of an infrastructure (sewer pipe) issue, Mayor Rossi obtained a $1.5 million state grant to replace the pipes so the project could continue and is now making excellent progress. The Yale New Haven Regional Operations Center was awaiting approvals and permits. The project was pushed through the permit process and the building is complete and will open soon. Many investors and developers were sitting on the sideline to see if West Haven could turn its financial situation around—and now that we have shown good progress, we have gained their confidence, and they are now at the table to discuss projects. The grand list grew by $30 million in 2018, and future increases look promising.
The West Haven High School (phase one) opened last week, which was on schedule and below the authorized budget. The construction schedule and construction costs have been closely monitored. A state grant will provide our students with computers. The investment in our school facilities and upgrading student resources will help attract commercial investors and positively affect our community.
Our city parks and beaches have been well maintained and continue to be enjoyed by our residents, and visitors alike. After the city pays off the Savin Rock Festival’s past cumulative debt, the mayor will appoint a board to bring back the event again in 2020 to celebrate our city’s valued history. The Savin Rock Festival will be just as much fun, but it will pay for itself using corporate sponsorships and the charging of fees to vendors.
West Haven is on the right path and I am asking our Democratic voters to support Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and all the endorsed Democratic candidates on Row A on Sept. 10 to keep West Haven moving forward! ROW A ALL THE WAY!!!
Michael P. Last
Chairman, Democratic Town Committee