The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by a "Rocky Hill Resident and Concerned Senior Citizen:"
I attended the on April 12, 2012. This was my first time attending any town meeting and was quite taken aback.
Let me first say that I am 100% behind the education of our children. I spent over 25 years in higher education to include administration and teaching. I truly believe the one demographic that separates success (however you define it) and failure more than any other is - education.
With that said, it was extremely disappointing to me to witness many presenting prepared and coached speeches to the council. The outcome of the council’s decision to me was a foregone conclusion. All nine council members voted yes on the approval of the $44.66 million referendum.
It was rather sad that only one individual attempted to defend the many senior citizens in Rocky Hill. If I would have known that there were going to be lines of students asking the council to pass this referendum, I would have made certain that there were an equal number of us seniors expressing our concerns how tax increases could have negative impact on our quality of life. It is a shame that we did not voice our opinion. I do not think the council made an informed decision by only hearing from one side.
At the April 2nd Government Operations meeting of the town council, the town manager said: “we don’t want to go any later into the session in June because it leaves us limited time and you do not want psychological impacts of the tax bills or anything else being utilized to sway how the question is answered." I believe the question is the June 5th vote on the school referendum. Town government has a duty and responsibility to all the residents of Rocky Hill to let us know what our new tax bill will be before June 5th, based on the total town budget to include this referendum.
The council should have been up front with all the tax increases. If the on May 21st, the mill rate is going from 24.5 to 25.8 according to the town manager (see Hartford Courant article May 16, 2012). If the referendum vote passes, the mill rate would jump to 27.0 (see Rocky Hill public schools special issue March 2012). For a home assessed at 175,000, the taxes would go from approximately $4,287 to $4725 when the referendum takes effect. This would be a 10.2% increase in taxes for the average home owner.
Large increases in taxes are a hardship on everyone, but especially our senior population living on a fixed income. Personally, I cannot make an informed decision unless I know all the facts. If I know the amount my total yearly taxes will increase for this fiscal year and next, and I believe it is a fair assessment, I would consider a yes vote. Without this information, I will have no option but to vote NO.
Rocky Hill Resident and Concerned Senior Citizen