Avon's Town Council disregards their constituents

Voting is the language of American democracy. The ability to participate in civic life — to have a voice in choosing how our community is managed. Unfortunately, the following Avon Town Council members decided your vote doesn't matter.

Growing numbers of Avon residents are calling for a change in leadership. They believe that council members should not only engage actively with the community but also listen to constituents during critical voting periods. It’s time to seriously consider replacing the current members, as they’ve revealed their true colors.”

Anthony Weber

Barbara Ausiello

Dan Polhamus

Erin Barthel

This open letter was shared online by Jim F. of Avon. The letter conveying the issues with the budget.

The Board of Finance had three (3) chances to do the right thing as demanded by a super turnout of taxpaying voters. After three public hearings and two failed budget referendums, the BOF, with a press from the town manager, has again failed to act appropriately by taking the taxpaying public seriously.
So, a second shot at the polls for the number two budget referendum, a much larger voter turnout, and another budget failure! Why? Because the Town Council (TC), the BOF, and the Board of Education (BOE) did not reduce a single expenditure line item. The second budget submitted for the Referendum was still $6 million, which is too high of a spending increase. The town manager, TC, and BOF blamed the property revaluation. Yes, some taxpayers are getting hit with a significant tax increase, some not, but masking the $6+ Million expenditure increase as an effect of the revaluation is a bold, flat-out lie and misinformation from these elected and appointed officials. 

The people were angry and frustrated. And rightfully so, especially when a BOF member had the audacious nerve and pompous arrogance to tell Avon taxpaying ladies to forgo their daily lattes to pay for the tax increase!

Referendum #1: The BOF sent an Expenditure Budget of $116 Million ($116,087,973) to the Referendum. A giant increase of $5,991,432 (Million Dollar Increase). A whopping 5.44 % Spending Increase, on top of the impact of property revaluation on Avon taxpayers. The result was a significant turnout of frustrated voters, and a bipartisan initiative shot it down with a resounding No!

Number 2 failed with a much larger turnout than #1. What did the TC, BOE, and BOF do for Budget Referendum #2? In short, the town manager, TC, BOE, and BOF did nothing. The “Triple S, Sham-Scam-Shell-Game” played out right before the unsuspecting, untrained eyes of the public. It was a sham because the concerted effort of the town manager, TC, BOE, and BOF did a duck and run, pontificating on details that confused the public. A Scam because the town manager has manipulated the TC and the BOF into approving unplanned revenue and interest income from taxpayers’ investments into newly named assignments, such as road improvements of $1.6 million and $500,000 for a new Capital Reserve Account (the Shell-Game), both, not approved by the taxpayers, nor were these unplanned revenue and interest income items presented, or transparent, or reported to the taxpayers in the FY 2022-2023 Year End Annual Report, AKA the 2024 Calendar. The Capital Reserve Account is nothing more than a slush fund.

The #2 Budget Failed because the BOF sent the same budget, with Zero Cuts in expenditures, to the Referendum. They did, however, utilize a sudden finding of Intergovernmental Grants in the name of Motor Vehicle Tax Reimbursement for $240,422 and Education Cost Sharing of $82,841, for a total of $323,263. So, they applied the $323,263 to the revenue side of the budget and snubbed the entire taxpaying public by not reducing a penny off the $5,991,432 (Million Dollar Increase). This spending increase is still a whopping 5.44 % Spending Increase. Then they (TC, BOE, BOF) wondered and said we should reduce the budget. You Think!

Here we are today, facing the third (third) Referendum on July 8, 2024, and the TC, BOE, and BOF have pulled off the biggest con to date. They cut expenditures by $614,408. Wow, a whopping $614,408. But wait a minute, how does a cut of $614,408 get the taxpayers to a zero percent increase in the “mill rate”? This zero percent increase in the mill rate does nothing for the taxpayers. Why? Because there is still a gigantic spending (expenditure) increase of $5,377,024 ($5.377 million), or more simply, a 4.88% spending increase. Still confusing the taxpayers more, the BOF, after support from the TC and town manager, managed to craft dipping into the general fund reserve balance to the tune of $2.18 million and moving it to the “Revenues Other Than Current Property Taxes $ 21,063,799” revenue budget line item. Again, their Shell Game takes our hard-earned taxpayer dollars and slides them from our general reserve fund/savings to the revenue side to reduce the mill rate but ignores the gigantic spending increase. This budget Referendum should yield a resounding NO vote for the third and final time. This message must be loud and clear, and after this undemocratic process, the clock will be ticking; the push will be on to remove these callous, inconsiderate tax and spenders, vote them out, get people on the board that will act on behalf of the public, the Avon Taxpayers, open the Charter, repeal the (% minimum requirement of voters to reject the budgets, set zero increases or max increases of .5 and .5% for the town and BOE after three budget failures.

Last, I agree with some very upset taxpayers and all for approaching the Connecticut State Attorney General regarding the attitude of the BOF that the TC can do whatever it wants if the budget fails three times. I say, what a political scam! The town manager does not wish to change the 9% requirement because he thinks special interest voters will have their say. Sure, Mr. Town Manager, just like the fire engines bonding referendum particular interest, not requiring 9%, or the field lights of hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars not requiring the 9%, and not requiring a referendum. The games these people play must stop. Vote NO, Monday, July 8, 2024