Rep. Sredzinski and Sen. Kelly Attend Emergency Town Hall Meeting

March 9, 2017

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Representative Sredzinski, Senator Kelly and First Selectman Vavrek Address the Proposed State Budget with Constituents at a Town Hall Meeting, Wednesday, March 8

MONROE, Conn. – State Representative JP Sredzinski (R-112) and State Senator Kevin Kelly (R-21), who each represent Monroe, updated their constituents on the status of the governor’s budget proposal and listened to their concerns with how it would impact them at a three-hour emergency town meeting called by Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek (R-Monroe) at Town Hall on Wednesday.

First Selectman Vavrek asked Monroe’s Hartford delegation to help fill in the details of the state budget that Governor Malloy proposed last month, which would leave Monroe $6.5 million in the hole for the next two years after a significant reduction of state aid.

Close to one hundred concerned citizens packed into Town Hall’s Council chambers to hear from the representatives and understand the intricacies of the budget at the Capitol. After Rep. Sredzinski opened the meeting by outlining the budget process and explaining why Connecticut now finds itself in the midst of a fiscal crisis, attendees requested answers from their elected officials and expressed their general outrage over the cuts to their town’s aid.

“Coming before a group of Monroe citizens like this and trying to clarify how the madness of the budget process in Hartford affects them here was absolutely a priority for me,” said Rep. Sredzinski. “As I have said, it is difficult not to feel like we as a town were targeted specifically for these drastic cuts because its responsible fiscal management and relative economic success compared with other towns. Listening to all of the different ways the cuts would affect people in town was enlightening for me because it makes them more than just numbers on a piece of paper – it means jobs will be eliminated, schools will lose money, and core services like police, fire, parks, and libraries will need to scale back what they offer.”

“I want to extend a thank you to First Selectman Steve Vavrek for putting the emergency town hall together,” said Sen. Kelly. “As legislators I think it is important for us to listen to our constituent’s concerns concerning the governor’s looming state budget so that we can carefully weigh what is best for our districts. Looking at the governor’s proposed budget it is clear that he is trying to balance his budget off from the backs of the hard-working families of Connecticut, including those from Monroe. I will continue to advocate for a budget that creates a stable and predictable economic climate and one that is equitable for municipalities. I think last night’s town hall was a good exchange of ideas and perspectives from the minds of Monroe residents.”

Rep. Sredzinski and Sen. Kelly acknowledged how early the legislature is in the budget process, emphasizing that the governor’s budget is likely to change in the coming months. For municipalities like the Town of Monroe, this means that it is not possible to predict how much aid they will receive from the state as they make their own budgets for the next fiscal year.

“I really wish I knew more,” concluded Rep. Sredzinski. “The state is really doing everyone a disservice by being cryptic with the budget. All I can do is continue to push the Appropriations Committee that I serve on to release their municipal aid projections as soon as possible so towns can prepare. Republicans have supported legislation that would require the General Assembly to set municipal aid by a specific deadline. Although I can’t predict anything specific, we can anticipate a significant degree of tax increases and budget cuts will result from this. Sen. Kelly and I will be sure to keep you updated and potentially hold another event like this after the budget is passed.”

“I thank Rep. Sredzinski and Sen. Kelly for listening to our residents’ concerns about the budget cuts and giving us insight not only into current happenings in Hartford, but also for giving their views on what should be done over the next few months,” said First Selectman Vavrek. “This was very helpful.”

Rep. JP Sredzinski represents the 112th General Assembly district communities of Monroe and Newtown

Sen. Kevin Kelly represents the 21st Senate district communities of Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford