Police raises are a necessity for the city
The City of West Haven has numerous pressing issues, but one, I believe, is in dire need of help and has catastrophic repercussions if not dealt with immediately.
Our Police Department has been losing good officers at an alarming rate. They are underpaid between $10,000 and $20,000 annually. The city pays $100,000 to train an officer, and in two years many leave for neighboring towns for better salaries and retirement benefits.
This past weekend saw bedlam at our beaches. City Council Chairman Massaro stated that we got hit with early warm weather that caught the police force off guard. In speaking with police, I have learned that we do not have the staff to patrol the beaches now or when summer hits. More officers are leaving imminently, with more to follow as the police contract expires July 1.
Last March, the City Council voted to give a $10,000 raise to each officer. West Haven has since been assigned Tier IV designation by the MARB, meaning the state has taken over the city’s finances, due to the city’s inability to have the most basic controls on finances. Our police tell me that the $10,000 raise for our officers is off the table. West Haven Police moral is understandably at an all-time low.
Public safety should be the number-one priority of the City of West Haven, and the MARB. I understand that MARB wants to see a five-year budget showing the city can maintain the pay increase for our officers, and I commend them for that. My concern is that time is running out on the current police contract, and if the immediate need for raises is not met, the ramifications of a mass exodus from an already understaffed force will be disastrous to the city.
If this situation is not resolved before their contract expires in five weeks, the city will not be able to man their police cars, crime will continue to soar, and I fear that the city may never recover.
Lake Phipps problems unanswered
This letter is in regards to the ongoing issues that myself and several other neighbors at Lake Ave have been having as a result of Coe River drainage. Besides the city coming in and reinforcing the banks, the City of West Haven received a state grant to do work across Main Street due to the erosion. They came in and reinforced everyone’s bank they knew that the land was being affected. But with this reinforcement, it created additional issues of land erosion, foundation cracks, and flooding that has resulted in damage that we have had to pay for along with thousands of dollars of damage after Tropical Storm Elsa made her way on July 9, 2021. My neighbor had 5 feet of water in her basement due to the lack of reinforcement in front of her home from the creek. The city stated that they sent her and the neighbor alongside of her a letter asking if they can work on the creek in front of their homes but nothing to prove these letters were sent as neither neighbor received letters.
In addition, there are several trees on the side of the creek that are blocking the water flow along with trash that keeps flowing in from Cove River into our back yards. We have had several meetings at City Hall with Public Works Commissioner, Tom McCarthy, Wetlands Commissioner, William Kane, Engineer, Abdul Quadir, and a hired attorney from the city. Councilman, Victor Borras, and Legislator, Dorinda Borer, also attended the meetings and did a walk through of the damage that the lake has done to our land and homes. We have made countless emails and phone calls to Tom McCarthy but he is refusing to follow through on the promises that he made during the Sept 24 meeting that we all participated in at City Hall of West Haven. The city added boulders, in 2017, to the side of the wall in aid of the flooding but this only made things worse. Since then, boulders have fallen to the bottom of the creek and the erosion has worsened with every rain/ tropical storm. We pay heavy taxes for the land that we have and ask that the City of West Haven correct the issue that they caused as a result of the work they did in 2017. Now, they are refusing, stating that the lake is partially each homeowner’s property as they do not want to pay to fix the issue they created. This is neglect on their part as they manipulated the area which only added more damage.
Due to the force of the water after a major storm, it pulls the dirt from underneath and therefore it has caused the posts of my deck to become slanted. This is now deemed dangerous to utilize and I will have to pay out of pocket to repair the posts. The city is not taking any ownership of this.
There is also the issue of the invasive Japanese Knotweed that has overgrown to over 6 feet tall and not only is it slowing down the water during a storm, causing a flood, but it is also blocking a driver’s view from turning onto Main St, from Lake Ave. This is dangerous and can cause accidents. Maintenance should be done regularly for safety reasons.
We have recordings and notes of the meetings that indicate all of these promises that the Public Works Commissioner has made and have reminded him of these via email but he does not respond. We are asking that they take care of this matter immediately or we will be forced to take legal action.
Lake Ave resident