Mayor O’Brien is calling Nancy Rossi out on the numerous lies she has told throughout her campaign for mayor. She, meanwhile, is countering by calling his assertions “ridiculous.” The ever-escalating battle of words saw a new salvo this week in a statement by the mayor concerning his opponent’s rhetoric untruthful.
“Nancy is running her campaign on multiple outright lies and I think the residents of West Haven need to know that,” O’Brien said in the statement issued Monday.
O’Brien points to specific examples of this, the first being Rossi’s press release regarding the train station area.
“On Sept. 1 of this year, the Rossi campaign sent a press release to the West Haven Voice regarding ‘Mayor O’Brien’s plan for affordable or ‘low income’ housing around the train station,’” the statement read. “In reality, there are absolutely no plans for low income or affordable housing in the train station area.”
Mayor O’Brien commented Rossi knows the facts, but continues to talk fantasy when it comes to the issue.
“Nancy sent this out knowing full well that the city’s plan for the train station area does not include any affordable housing and she completed fabricated this idea in an attempt to scare or mislead voters,” O’Brien said.
The city’s transit-oriented development plan can be found at www.cityofwesthaven.com/DocumentCenter/View/114, the release noted.
Next, O’Brien pointed out Rossi’s numerous statements concerning the size of the city’s deficit. “Rossi has stated throughout the campaign that the O’Brien administration has doubled the city’s deficit which is also completely false,” the statement reads. “The city’s total deficit was over $16 million when Mayor O’Brien took office, and has only increased by about 1 percent of the city’s yearly budget. In the same time the O’Brien administration has also paid off nearly $30,000,000 in long-term debt.”
Regarding these statements, O’Brien contends the reason is to highlight her belief she is a financial “expert.”
“The only thing Nancy is running on is her so-called financial expertise, but she doesn’t have a great case to make so she needs to resort to distorting facts to score any points. It’s really sad that someone running for Mayor feels the need to mislead West Haven residents.”
The city’s yearly budgets and audits can be found at www.cityofwesthaven.com/archive.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that Nancy has to resort to lies and misleading statements to have any message for the people of West Haven. We could spend more time discussing our visions for the city’s future and what we think it takes to get there, but instead we have to waste time refuting the lies that Nancy and her campaign are attempting to spread around West Haven,” the mayor stated in closing.
If the mayor was looking for a walking back of her claims, he didn’t get them. Rossi said she stands by these and other statements she’s made since the campaign began.
“In response to Mayor O’Brien’s ridiculous claims, I stand 100 percent by the facts offered by my campaign regarding the mayor’s mismanagement of the city. Our facts can easily be checked and verified in published reports and audits,” she said.
She countered his claims concerning affordable housing by pointing to the state’s own plan.
“The presentation and public meetings held regarding the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan, requested by Mayor O’Brien, I was present at both meetings, concerned our residents because the majority of the plan indicated that there would be affordable housing around the train station,” she said. “The state’s long-term plan for TOD zones around the state is to build affordable housing. The fact is that West Haven has enough housing and we need to increase our commercial base to give our property owners relief.
On the topic of the deficit, she countered with numbers of her own.
“the truth is that Ed O’Brien has doubled the general fund deficit. The deficit was $7.8 million on Dec. 1, 2013, when he assumed office and currently stands at $16.8 million. This information is included in the city’s annual audit reports. I can help Mayor O’Brien interpret the financial statements and audit if he is having trouble understanding them,” she said.
She charged the mayor’s administration has been derelict in its duty to produce a balanced budget and that has resulted in the growth of the operating deficit.
“Mayor O’Brien has yet to balance a budget and is responsible for large operating deficits for each year he has been in office. The last financial audit report shows an operating deficit of $2.5 million for fiscal year 2016. The city will likely have yet another deficit for fiscal year 2017 (which ended June 30). The current budget is around $8 million out of balance because the mayor increased the amount of revenue from the state. Most other mayors budgeted conservatively but not O’Brien—he put in extra revenue that we will not receive and now he is lobbying the state for a bailout to avoid insolvency,” she said..
Mayor O’Brien also states that his administration paid off $30 million for payments for debt service, she calls that claim false.
“Does he not remember that he recently requested and received authorization from the City Council to borrow an additional $150 million? His math skills frighten me. (He) is running West Haven into the ground. Obviously he does not understand finance and budgeting and he lacks leadership skills. He has no long-term plan or vision for the city,” she said.
She said she looks forward to looking at all the issues facing the city, but must concentrate on job one.
“There are many issues that need to be addressed but we have to start with fiscal reform and balanced budgets,” she said finally.