Town Hall rally says no to higher taxes

Death and taxes might be inevitable, but a group of Stratford residents and community leaders rallied Sept. 7 at Town Hall to oppose the town’s continued tax spiral.

The rally was organized by the For Stratford Network.. And although anti-tax groups in other parts of the United States. have often been associated with the political right, this group and the event had a distinctly nonpartisan tone and message.

A key part of their message: making a clean sweep of elected posts at Town Hall and electing people who will make difficult, but necessary, cuts in local government. In all, 10 candidates spoke at the event, including two mayoral candidates. All view the current tax rate – now just under 40 mills – as disgraceful.

That tax rate erodes both commercial and residential property values, according to Tom Yemm, the event’s organizer.

“In the last eight years, we’ve had the biggest tax increases in the entire history of the town. “Every time our taxes go up in Stratford, our home values go down,” Yemm said.

“It is time we took a serious look at taxes in Stratford,” said Republican mayoral candidate Sandra Zalik. “In recent years our taxes have gone up ten mills and our per-capita debt has become the fifth highest in the state. We cannot continue going this way.”

Zalik cited her experience in audits as making her well-qualified for the top job in Stratford, and noted that tough decisions will need to be made. Positions in town government may need to be cut entirely or converted to part-time jobs, she noted.

In the view of Democratic mayoral candidate Joe Paul, trimming government and taxes needs to be a community-wide if not statewide effort.

“Party doesn’t matter anymore,” declared Paul, one of three candidates vying for the Democratic spot in the Sept. 12 primary. “I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors, and everybody in Stratford wants to see taxes under control. Our mill rate is hitting 40 – that’s a sign of a mismanaged town.”

Town Council members and candidates Greg Cann, Scott Farrington-Posner, John Rich, Mark Scheck, Indiana Susaña and Bieu Tran also exhorted the crowd to make their voice known by electing council members who will promise to lower taxes.

“People are getting taxed out of the homes they have lived in for 40 years… that they raised their children in,” said 2nd District Councilman Farrington-Posner. “That’s unacceptable.”

Scheck noted that the $4 million cut in state aid to Stratford could translate into a 4 mill tax increase, making the town one of Connecticut’s most-taxed.  “We need to do something – now!” said Scheck, a Republican running for the 1st District nod.

“A lot of people in the community feel that they don’t have a voice,” said Susaña, running as a Democrat in District 4 against her ex-husband and incumbent David Harden. “Integrity is everything and I’ve let the people in my district know that I will be their voice at Town Hall.”

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  • Alta Vista

    Can one ask specifically what $4 million dollar cut is being referenced by Mark Scheck? And what about the $21 million dollar cut to the BOE?

    • Mark Scheck

      The quote was wrong, I was referencing the State cut of 21 million equals a 4 mil increase. Regards Mark

      • Alta Vista

        Thanks for the clarification, Mark! Good luck in your race.

  • xxx

    Mark Scheck has been fully vested with his time and true concerns for Stratford, he has also done extensive research into the overwhelming areas of waste by our elected officials, that cost the taxpayers directly, we need more residents like Mark on our boards. He has my vote!

    • Thrashed

      Mark got his A** kicked, clearly there is something off about him

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