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Seniors for a Better Rocky Hill

Seniors need a voice in town government

To all my senior colleagues and friends:

The senior community in Rocky Hill needs a collective voice to bring to our town government.  My goal is to form a group of concerned Rocky Hill Seniors who would like to take an active role in lobbying town government. We have earned the right to be heard on all issues including taxes.

I attended the public hearing for the Rocky Hill High School referendum on April 12, 2012. This was my first time attending any town meeting and was quite taken aback.

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 on how tax increases could have a 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.  Without knowing all the facts, I feel strongly that I must vote NO on June 5th on this referendum.  

Please feel free to express your concerns with regard to any senior issues in Rocky Hill. If anyone is interested in helping seniors for a better Rocky Hill, please let me know.

Thanks for your support.

Rich Laria

Rocky Hill Resident and Concerned Senior Citizen

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jerry C. May 18, 2012 at 03:20 AM
I agree that we as senior citizens need to have a bigger voice, but we have to remember that the youth will have the biggest impact on this community and country as a whole in the future. We can't be selfish here. Not only is the High School as a whole under warning by the state, but if it's not fixed soon they will lose accreditation, which means three things. Students won't be able to get accepted into colleges, it will be impossible for residents of Rocky Hill to sell their homes because of the loss of accreditation, and no one will want to live in Rocky Hill anymore. This can't happen, plain and simple
Mary May 20, 2012 at 11:53 PM
As I understand it, school accreditation is not mandatory to be accepted into college and has no effect on acceptance. I am all for youth education but if you read the renovation proposal (available at the library) they have placed everything but the kitchen sink into this renovation. I don’t think “white eraser boards” (very expensive) are a necessity nor needed for accreditation. These times are very difficult especially for seniors living on a fixed income. I voted yes for the last school proposal, but this time I think it has to be a no. The town seems to cater to the youth and disregard senior needs. Many of us cannot afford a 10%+ tax increase. If the town would freeze senior’s taxes, I’m sure they would vote for anything the Board of Education wants. What bothered me the most was when I heard that town employees gave concessions and the teachers union refused. In this economy everyone is making concessions. Mary
Joseph Leal May 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Mary, Please know that The teachers are not getting a pay raise this year. There salaries are frozen this upcoming year. Also, when it comes to the referendum, please know that this impacts all of us. Not just children in High School. I work at a university here in CT, and while you are correct that Accreditation is not required, it does play a role in a student being accepted into the university. Look out for the town's mailer coming out soon. While all of our taxes may be going up over the next few years this will not kick in until 2014, when we see a mill rate increase of 1.07 mills..on a home assessed at $200,000 that is an increase of $200 or break it down to approx 58 cents per day. Keep in mind that for years you have been paying taxes to the states fund to pay for school renovations and to build new schools in which neighboring towns have all voted for and received state funds over the last few years. You are paying for something that you have helped fund. Know that if the referendum fails, the school still needs major improvements, while maybe not 45M worth, it will still need many, many millions which would then become solely bonded by the town. Approximately $2,000,000=1 mill point.....If the town decides that the school needs 30 Million in capital improvements..Then your looking at an increase of 15 mill points over the course of the project. The town does have retiring debt over the next few years, which should create an adjustment on the mill rate as well.
Jackie K May 21, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Mary- with respect to my elders, your comment "The town seems to cater to the youth and disregard senior needs." is really a bit aggrevating as well as false. I believe the Seniors have a fairly new Senior Center - correct? If you open the Parks and Recreation Bulletin, there are pages of classes and trips for seniors and most are FREE. We pay for all of our kids camps and activities. We pay to get into the pool in the summer. There is also a system to call and check on the home bound seniors. There is the human resources department that delivers meals to seniors. All people with kids are asking for is a school that is SAFE without MOLD and somewhere they can actually learn. Take a look at the pictures of the labs in the HS. Your comment makes me mad and next time the seniors need help - I may not be available. And actually I believe there was an increase in Social Security unlike my job where we had a pay freeze for 2 years.. Seniors are not the only ones on fixed incomes.
Rich Laria May 21, 2012 at 05:04 PM
According to the 2012-2013 budget requests published on the Rocky Hill town website: Total budget request is $63,294,537. Senior Citizens program request is $207,000. The senior program request represents 0.3% of the total town budget. This represents about $32/person for every one over the age of 55. The 2010 census data for Rocky Hill shows the following age demographic Total population – 19,709 Ages 5-19 – 3,150. This represents 15.98% of the total population Ages 55 and over – 6,394. This represents 32.44% of the total population As our senior population grows, we need to provide more services. The council should increase the budget for the seniors to 1% of the total town budget. To put this into perspective the Board of Education request is 30,353,835 which is approximately 48% of the total town budget.
Harry May 22, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Jerry, if the referendum passes the mill rate shoots up to 27.0 and there will be plenty of homes sitting on the market, heck, maybe even abandoned, that should be great for home values. You keep talking about the youth as our future, yet you don't mention there's zero growth in the student population for years. Accreditation will not be lost with a NO Vote, RHHS will be put on probation, if nothing is done for YEARS maybe they will lose accreditation, it's not something that happens on June 6th after a no vote. And what about the other schools that are worse off than RHHS, why are you dumping 45 Million on that school and nothing on the rest? OHHHH so more tax hikes for the next referendum right
Harry May 22, 2012 at 01:24 PM
The mill rate yesterday was 24.5, today it's 25.8, so without even voting on this school referendum, taxes just went up by 20+ dollars a month. Joesph, why not break it down to millie seconds how much it will cost us, so it looks like it's free. We all just lost 20+ dollars a month and you want to add another 20 + on top of that, then you want to do that for the next 15 to 20 years for this referendum alone, then next year you all will bring up the other schools which are in much worse shape than the High School, but you all decided to ignore them this year. So what? next year another 20? With all that is said and done our taxes will have gone up 8000 to 12000 a year by the end of the term. Do the math. And are we all to believe that town budgets won't increase? I may have to walk away from my house. That should be good for the town
Harry May 22, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Don't you worry Mary, I'll be there for the seniors. Don't be bullied
Harry May 22, 2012 at 01:29 PM
So 3150, 45 million for the high school, that would me parents would have to pay $14,500 to pay for there share per kid. A lot less than a college education. Thinking parents should be the ones paying for all of this....
Rich May 22, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Jackie – Please visit our so called “senior center”. You may find that space is shared and the programs lack adequate space. Also, I never heard of the human resource department delivering meals. I appreciate the information and will look into it. Paying for your kids’ camps and the pool is your choice; similar to taking your kids to a movie or an amusement park. How you spend your discretionary income is up to you. Whose fault is it that the school is not safe as you mentioned? I agree with you that it is appalling that mold is in the school. Someone is not doing their job. This should have been taken care of during the school year through the operational budget. I am surprised that the parents let the high school get into such disarray over the years. I am not sure if you contribute to the social security system. Please do not compare one’s paycheck with a social security check. When the government issues a check to a senior it is the SENIOR’S MONEY. We contributed for many years. When one receives a paycheck from their employer, it is the organization’s money given to an individual for a specific task accomplished as agreed under your terms of employment. If one does not like their job, they have every right to seek different employment and make more income or find another source of income, as I did when my daughter was in school. A 75 year old senior does not have that option and is at the mercy of the federal government.

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