First Selectman Dan Steward does not like to be pushed around.
Last year, the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen cut a combined $5,812 from Southeastern Area Transit’s budget proposal, lowering the total to $36,000. SEAT appealed this cut to Waterford’s Representative Town Meeting,
In February, SEAT Board Chairman Paul Altman sent a letter to Steward saying that Waterford has to pay the $5,812, or it will have to withdraw from SEAT. At a Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday night, the board unanimously rejected the request.
“To me, this is bullying,” Steward said. “And bullying is inappropriate.”
In the letter, Altman writes Waterford is statutorily obligated to give what SEAT asks for, or the town has to withdraw from SEAT. Altman wrote that Waterford “arbitrarily” lowered its amount.
Steward questioned if Altman was “bluffing,” or if he was serious about having Waterford removed from SEAT. Even if that is the case, Waterford is looking at different options that might fit the need better anyway, Steward said.
“I have a problem with the way this letter was written,” he said. “I don’t like to be treated inappropriately.”
The request will be forwarded to the Board of Finance and the RTM, along with a letter by the Board of Selectmen recommending to deny it.
Steward also said he asked for a meeting with Altman, and his request was denied. Altman did not attend the meeting.