In the last three years, Waterford’s taxes have increased by at least 4 percent each year, and the proposal for the 2013-14 fiscal year increases spending by 4.16 percent.
While it is too early to predict the tax increase yet, as revenues haven’t been finalized, indications are it will be above 4 percent again. Yet almost nobody from the public has shown up to the town’s budget meetings and few people are reading or responding to Waterford Patch’s articles about the topic.
Monday night was another example of that, as the Waterford Board of Finance held another budget meeting that was open to the public, yet no one from the public showed. That raises the question: do people in Waterford not care about the budget?
“I don’t know what it means (that there is so little interest in the budget),” First Selectman Dan Steward said. “And I don’t have any understanding as why. It is just ugly… People should be going to the meetings; they should be getting this information. And they’re not.”
This year, no one aside from former Representative Town Meeting member Paul Goldstein has voiced an opinion at any of the municipal government’s budget reviews. The Board of Education held two budget hearings on their budget in January, and again there was little attendance from the public and even less public input.
That has carried over to Waterford Patch as well. Despite the proposed increase, few Patch users have been reading the articles about the budget, compared to other pieces, and even less are giving any feedback.
Steward said he doesn’t know what to make from it, and said it is difficult to get a feel on the situation with such little feedback coming from the residents. He said he has tried to get the public involved more, yet there seems to be little interest.
But, he said, he doesn’t take the lack of input as a sign that people are generally happy, and therefore aren’t complaining. Instead, perhaps they have just given up, he said.
“I think maybe they are saying they can’t see a fix,” Steward said.
The Waterford Board of Finance has another budget meeting tonight at 7 in Waterford Town Hall. It is open to the public, and there is time - as always - for public comment at the beginning of the meeting.
Waterford's Tax Increases
Fiscal Year (Fiscal year begins
July 1st and ends on June 30th)
% Tax Increase
From Previous Year2012-13 Fiscal Year
19.77 5.22% 2011-12 Fiscal Year
18.79 4.16% 2010-11 Fiscal Year
18.04 7% 2009-10 Fiscal Year