Daponte: Council has accomplished plenty in six months

Letter-to-the-EditorNEWTo the Editor:

I would like to keep your readers informed of the Town Council’s accomplishments in its first 6 months, which include:

  • Addressing the $5 million hole in last year’s budget.  Because of our work, so far, the town’s bond rating remains solid;
  • Passing a balanced and responsible budget which funds the town’s pension obligations and improves education;
  • Passing capital improvement and capital equipment budgets.  The capital improvement Budget includes funding for street paving, sidewalks, and the replacement of Bunnell High School’s roof;
  • Passing of the allocations of the Community Development Block Grant;
  • Thoroughly vetting the Stratford High School project by holding a public information session, bringing together the superintendent, architect, Board of Education, finance director, the council and the public. After vetting, this council passed all necessary project resolutions;
  • Appointments of numerous citizens to committees and commissions; and
  • Oversight of town spending and departments.

Currently, the near-term special projects the council is working on include:

  • Shakespeare Theater–  through the council’s Building Needs committee, there is a Shakespeare subcommittee that is actively working on re-establishing the theater;
  • Creating a Dog Park–  the project has been reverted back to the Parks & Recreation Committee so it can recommend potential locations;
  • Vetting the Center School project to determine whether the administration’s plans to replace both the Board of Education and (new) Center School buildings with a parking garage and 20% affordable housing represents the town’s long-term best interests; and
  • Continued prodding on the Stratford Army Engine Plant project.  This is the project that would be a game-changer for the town.

All on the council are concerned about the town’s long-term vitality.  Smart economic development, high quality education, a stable bond rating, and getting the Army Engine Plant revitalized, along with continued oversight will result in lower taxes and make all of the town’s districts more desirable.  I look forward to continuing our work.

Beth Daponte

Town Council chairman

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  • Tina Marie

    It is painful how disconnected you are…Melvin said you would be given space to write a response to our concerns. Instead, you used this time as a platform to self-promote. You attacked a group of people. You owe them a REAL apology. Stop throwing “Bunnell’s new roof” in front of you as justification for your comments. No one cares about what you did or do. It is HOW you do it and how you make them FEEL that matters. That’s what everyone remembers.

  • Patricia Clark Sperling

    WOW, just WOW! Do those delusions keep you up at night?

    Please, step down!

  • Henry Bruce

    #ReCallBeth

  • seanhaubert

    By her own admission, she plans on lowering taxes by raising taxes. Apparently her PH.D. is not in math.

    • Joe Pedoto

      Sean: I think Ms. Daponte is still fighting the Viet Nam War – “It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it,” said an American Army Major after the destruction of the Vietnamese village Ben Tre. Heaven Help Stratford!

      • Tina Marie

        That is an awful thought, but I believe you are right. She and Harkins are building a town, not for people who live her, but for these “future settlers” who will somehow want these things. Last time I looked, the townies aren’t going anywhere and those “others” that come…go. Why not build on our values and build with the people here? We are not worthless and we matter. The voices of residents and our culture matters. It is worth fighting for—forever. Maybe if anyone should leave it is THEM! If they are so tremendously unhappy with Stratford and the people who live here now, why not go some place else and be with the people and within a community you WANT to be in? I want to be here. I chose to be here. I love home. It will only get better if you love what and WHO is already here—all of it. The people are the town. Without them, we are empty.

  • Joe Pedoto

    Continued prodding? Can the Council Chair please explain this in more detail? What exactly has the current Town Council done concerning the SAEP? I find nothing that’s been reported that could be called progress on this in the last six months. What did you prod and when?

    Also, I take great offense that you blame your foul mouth and your inability to control your temper in public on your Italian heritage. You just compounded the insult.

    Oh yeah, Italians – we can’t express themselves without cursing. That’s just how we are. You must be a member of organized crime, too, right? Because that’s the next stereotype on the list. You demean yourself and your heritage – along with every other Italian-American in Stratford.

    Maybe the problem is not that you’re Italian, maybe the problem is simply that you are Beth.

    Wait! I’m Sicilian and I just expressed my thoughts without cursing. Does that disqualify me as an Italian?

  • Gavin Forrester

    Are you kidding me? Half of this stuff has been kicked back to sub-committees which means the council as done little more than pass the buck. EVERY council passes a capital improvement plan that does the exact same things as well as routinely pass the Block Grant. Bottom line is that they raised our taxes rather than cut the budget and bite the bullet and little more else other than have long nonproductive meetings.

    • Barney

      Gav,
      I think she is better keeping her mouth shut and admit to herself she’s in over her head. The chair needs to be replaced and she needs to work within and for her district only. The meetings have been brutal. And looking at the online expense and revenue report there is no way taxes had to be raised. The adjustments are a joke and probably violate charter restrictions. Shameful on her part and Hardon’s part. Each council person and the mayor needs to hold each department head accountable, cut their budget, and tell them to make it work. They each get overpaid to make decisions let them make them. The rubber continues to not meet the road in this town. This town has a huge debt to make up. Cuts in town hall management have to be made. The entry level worker does their job exceptionally well. It’s the titles that get in the way.
      Now next year come budget time they have to further add to the BOE’S take because of State mandates in place. I know you know that.

    • Joe Pedoto

      Worst. Town. Council. Ever.

      • Tina Marie

        🙁

        • Joe Pedoto

          Tina: I meant no insult to you. You seem to be someone who actually cares about Stratford and does not have a hidden agenda. I wish that your situation was better. The dysfunction currently on exhibit at Town Hall is certainly not your fault.

          More than anything else Beth Daponte wants to be Mayor, and in charge. She doesn’t hide her ambition. Isn’t that one reason why the meetings she runs turn into punishing marathons?

          Her story is almost like an ancient work of literature and one word sums it up: hubris. Clearly there’s a “gap between inflated self perception and a more modest reality.”

          The sad part for all of us taxpayers is that her personal issues and her anger limit what can be accomplished in Stratford today. But I’m sure she can easily dismiss my opinion because, at the end of the day, I’m just another potty-mouthed Italian-American.

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