Thursday, March 31, 2016

Officially naming Stewart the cause of city tax increases and debt

We have a good police force in New Britain, led by an excellent chief, James Wardwell, who I am proud to have appointed. I am proud to have acted to increase the number of police officers and to support our police force in many ways for the benefit of all the people of our city. I am also glad that our police got an improved Police Station, that is a better and more effective work environment.

But there are some truths that need to be told about the enormity of the financial impact of the construction project that built it that come from mismanagement by Stewart, the 1st.

It is interesting, on the occasion of Stewart the 2nd placing the name of Stewart the 1st in big letters in the lobby of the Police Station, that Stewart the 1st would, again, repeat the falsehood that it was a $35 million project. It was not a $35 million project - it was many millions more. Not only did he tuck a great deal of spending on this project, off that budget, under construction bonding other than the acknowledged $35 million Police Station bonding authoritization, but his administration committed the city to millions of dollars more than that $35 million bonding he still says was the project's cost.

Nor did Stewart the 1st come up with the revenue to pay for all of that borrowing. While he talks about the Build America Bonds that temporarily covered part of the project's financing costs, he never really came up with a plan for the city to pay for the tens of millions of dollars he charged on the taxpayers' dime through this project.

While this is not the only example of the mismanagement by Stewart the 1st that led to the deficits I inherited from him, it was one of the larger of his messes that I had to clean up.

It is interesting that, after all of the mess he created, Stewarts the 1st and 2nd would both have the nerve to think that  the people of our city should owe him the honor of placing his name on the walls of the same building that was the center of such mismanagement by him. I didn't when I was cleaning up his messes, in general, and that one, in particular. And, on behalf of the taxpayers, I stand by that.

Stewart the 1st is right about one thing, though. The financial disaster that he wrought through that project truly was one of his most significant legacies. But far from a good one. Taxpayers should know they are paying more because of this legacy of the Stewarts.