Antezzo planning to sue over tax bills

Marianne Antezzo

Marianne Antezzo

A Town Council member plans to file a lawsuit against the Town of Stratford to challenge Mayor John Harkins’ issuance of tax bills without a mill rate being set.

Marianne “Mitzi” Antezzo, the 7th District councilor, announced at Monday’s regular council meeting that she intends to legally contest Harkins’ action to have tax bills sent to residents with an effective mill rate of 39.97, with no mill rate or budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year in place.

Antezzo said Tuesday that it’s the Town Council’s job to set the rate.

“I’m going to challenge the fact that he [Harkins] essentially set the mill rate,” Antezzo said, accusing the mayor of conducting business “in the dark.”

While town attorneys told the council on Monday that Harkins did not set a mill rate even while making an emergency call to send out tax bills, Antezzo says she’s not buying it.
“They can call it anything they want. Bu it’s a mill rate,” she said.

Antezzo and five other council members have resisted budgets that would call for an increase in taxes. The group of six — Antezzo, 2nd District Councilman Scott Farrington-Posner, 3rd District Councilman Wali Kadeem, 5th District Councilman Greg Cann, 6th District Councilman and Majority Leader Philip Young and 10th District Councilman Tina Manus — voted in May and June to approve budgets that would have kept the mill rate level at 38.99. Harkins vetoed both those budgets, calling them irresponsible.

Chief Administrative Officer Chris Tymniak said Tuesday that the emergency rate bill sent to taxpayers on Friday was necessary for the town to continue operations. Without the tax bills, the town would run out of money by mid-August. The bills sent out last week were reflective of the 2016-17 budget plus the town’s contractual obligations for the new fiscal year.

“The way we looked at it is we have got to start getting collections in. We’ve got summer camps going on, we have police and fire [services] to pay for. We have garbage to pick up,” Tymniak said. “The money needs to come in to pay people to do that work. We never got the idea from the Town Council that they wanted a government shutdown.”

Tymniak added that the second-half tax bills will be amended to reflect the actual mill rate once a budget and mill rate are approved and in place, meaning some tax bills will be less than the first-half bills.

The town will also receive revenues from the state and from local departments, he said.

Harkins explains his decision in an op-ed running in this week’s paper that the mill rate used on the tax bills “is merely what is required by and mandated by the charter given the current emergency fiscal situation.”

Council Chairman Beth Daponte said Monday that challenging the tax bill issuance would be “a total waste of money.”

About author
Editor for the Stratford Star. Former reporter for the Darien Times.

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  • Patricia Clark Sperling

    Beth, you running again for 1st District is a total waste of your time!

    • Charlie

      Maybe retired town employees could give back some of their pension money? Do you like that idea Patricia Clark Sperling? I bet you don’t right?

      • Patricia Clark Sperling

        How ’bout that OT, Charlie?

      • Patricia Clark Sperling


  • Bill

    And a ” total waste of money “. nMitzie, I will give a small donation to help. nI will send you an email.

  • Maryanne S

    Who votes these people in that sue their own town? These are the same people who spent $60,000 on an ice rink (used only 2 day). They voted to put $95,000 to Shakespeare Theater (how’s that working out). They put a dog park before our Booth Park or Long Brook Park. Have you ever watched Mitzie at the meetings? She can barely follow what’s going on, she questions all the time “What are we voting on again?”. It’s time everyone wakes up and drains this council swamp, we can do better!

    • Michael Sullivan

      Ever been to a WPCA Meeting? A meeting she runs as the chairman? You’ll see a different person than you think. After going to a WPCA meeting, my opinion of her changed. One sharp woman

    • Robert F. Walsh

      Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and I don’t lightly offer unsolicited advice. However, I would encourage any person who thinks that Mitzi is anything but sharp as a tack to attend those meetings and watch her in action. She’s often clarifying for the record by asking what parliamentary procedure is presently being engaged. Robert’s Rule of Order are maddeningly hard to follow in the best of times, but even worse when tensions are high and accusations are flying.

    • Trevor Scofield

      If you are implying her age is an issue then you really are trolling here. FYI Beth championed Shakespeare wasted funds. The majority of the rink money was fundraised and will be used every year. This was a learning year next year they need to locate it in a less open area. If you have this many issues then get involved. And your post is ironic because you ask who voted these people in implying you either didn’t do your civic duty or voted “these people” in.

    • Trevor

      Maryanne S…Are you another Lou troll?

  • Tired of Stupidity

    They had 6 months to come up with a budget and now they are suing the town? Does Mitzie expect us to take our garbage to the dump on our own or us to take ourselves to the hospital when EMS isn’t there to respond?? The budget Mitzie wanted approved was fraudulent according to the law. They wanted to bond leased equipment, did they also want to take a loan out for pens and pencils? This is what happens when we elect people that haven’t got a clue about finance! Time to make them hear us in November!

    • Derek Adams

      Where did you pull this information? Out of a hat? You haven’t been following the budget issue very closely.

    • Greg Cann

      Yea, that’s complete B.S. from an anonymous troll – unsubstantiated scare tactics created by a Mayor who was caught violating charter re hiring his CAO and his misappropriating from enterprise funds. Hey Mr Stupid – EMS & Railroad are both just about bankrupt because Harkins took $4million of their dollars to compensate for his failure to attract economic development. No EMS you fear? No cash to repair train station? Blame Harkins! Short Beach is bankrupt. And then there’s statute violation when Harkins took WPCA’s capital improvement fund and tried to cover it up by creating fake ledger accounts. And how about 10 weeks of town administration refusing to share spending history and account balances? They were hiding the truth – couldn’t let facts interfere with their fake accusations. Not only do some of us councilors know finance & analysis, we also have an ethical foundation and the support from our constituents.

      • Matt

        Your ethical foundation will come under scrutiny if you respond by calling people names.

        • Trevor Scofield

          it’s also unethical to quote fraudelence when none exists according to “your personal opinion of laws”.

          • Greg Cann

            Certainly it would be flatulence to forward theories of fraud when no evidence exists – sorta like the stink the Mayor makes when he accuses without substantiation. Fortunately, I have the logical where with all to investigate opportunities & risks and then rationally document them with facts, then I have the countenance of an independent attorney who has appropriate legal experience to validate. Every conviction starts with collection of evidence. It’s a process. You’d prefer a lynch mob?

          • Trevor Scofield

            Greg that was not directed at you it was directed at Matt and should have been a question mark at the end. Reread it that way…

          • Alta Vista

            flatulence? where with all? the countenance of an independent attorney?nnPlease Mr. Cann, proof read your posts. Spell check is not your friend. Thank you.

        • Greg Cann

          Explain yourself Matt. “Tired of Stupidity” named themselves. You can label me “tired of hypocrisy” or “fed up with mismanagement and patronage”.

        • Matt

          I believe elected officials should comport themselves in a respectful manner and not stoop to the level of the baiters. When you do you lose credibility. And my full name is Matt Kascak.

      • Michael Sullivan

        Not so anonymous… sounds just like Karen. Shame people can’t post with their real names

  • Derek Adams

    Go Mitzi! Behind you 100%!

  • Trsh

    The mill rate should not be raised. The present mill rate is too high already.

  • Kenny

    We need that money to keep the Registrar of Voters Office open.nIn fact we need to expand the registrars, maybe open sub stations in the fire houses.nGet a mobile registrar van too

  • Lorraine Cecile Benoit Calzett

    Thank you Mitzi

  • Kevin Mathews

    Why doesn’t the math on the tax bills calculate correctly? Is the Town the only organization that can send an inaccurate bill out legally?

    • Bill

      Hey, we have a chairperson who wouldn’t pass a budget Thursday because she wanted money for an opioid crisis. Don’t expect anything to be done correctly, your asking too much!

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