Politics Magazine

Did Harkins Really Say “Stratford is on the Rise”?

Posted on the 30 March 2017 by Jezebel282

Did Harkins Really Say “Stratford is on the Rise”?

Hello Madame? Did you fall asleep at your knitting table or something? How did you miss this gem in last week’s Stratford Star? Jeeeesssssuuuuusss. This post cannot wait any longer so RockAnnand to the rescue!

We have known for sometime there is something seriously wrong with Town Hall. There is no indication yet of what might be causing the disease, but the symptoms are obvious: the inability to do basic math. You know? The kind we did in grade school? Add and subtract? I finally caught up on my reading and noticed an article by Melvin Mason in the Stratford Star “http://www.stratfordstar.com/64702/harkins-stratford-on-the-rise/” about Mayor Harkins “Farewell Address” when I realized that what Harkins was quoted as saying made no sense at all.

For example there was this:

“By aggressively pursuing new businesses and assisting companies here in Stratford who wanted to expand, we have seen our taxable grand list grow by more than $600 million in the last seven years,” Harkins said…”

That was interesting. As a Stratford resident and taxpayer I hadn’t noticed that the good times were rolling. So I went and checked. That was unfortunate because it just made me depressed. Back in early 2010 when Harkins took office (his example, not mine) the Mil rate was 30.36 on a Grand List of $4,625,845,556. That was exactly seven years ago.

So how well has Harkins done since he’s been collecting a Town salary? According to last year’s budget the Mil Rate was 38.99 on a Grand List of $4,492,487,619. Now, I am not claiming to be a math mensa, but that seems to me to be an increase in the Mil rate and a lowering of the Grand List since Harkins has been mayor. It also is more aligned with the reality that residents and taxpayers experience. [Just so you know, he is proposing another Mil on top of that to 39.93 for next year]

In case you are wondering, that is a $133,357,937 DROP in the Grand List and a rise of 8.63 Mils. That translate into an almost 30% increase in your property taxes since he took office to cover his burgeoning municipal budget. A budget that included 20 to 110% salary increases in 2014 for all non-union employees (including himself) and a veritable fleet (27) of expensive town SUVs complete with gas and insurance for directors, department heads and special employees.

So tell me again Mayor Harkins how you made economic development and growing the tax base the hallmarks of your time in office? And what DID Karen Kaiser do all these years as your Director of Economic Development? And what did Mary Dean actually accomplish as Director of the Stratford Chamber of Commerce? Looks more like rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship while living high off the hog at the expense of Stratford’s hard working taxpayers.

It makes you wonder how much of what Harkins said in the article is equally ‘true’.

“It is truly amazing what can happen when people can set aside personal and political differences and work together for the collective betterment of all of our residents,” he said.”

Outstanding. Except it was Harkins that ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses taking voters to court to prevent them from voting to stop the sale of valuable Town assets and raising their sewer fees. Which of course meant that we the taxpayers funded the legal maneuvers against ourselves. Harkins was THAT guy. And speaking of putting aside personal and political differences … have you met Lou DeCilio?

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