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Meriden Budget Goes to Public Hearing

Fewer than 20 people turned out to give their input on the $185.6 million plan Tuesday and only six spoke. Most railed about nonbudget issues, including the end times.

 

Just a handful of residents turned out Tuesday night to hear the city’s presentation of its proposed and just six of them spoke on the spending plan.

The sat at a table on the auditorium’s stage looking out at a nearly empty auditorium in the where fewer than 20 people turned out for the hearing.

The first four people to speak made no specific recommendations on the budget, but railed at the council about issues ranging from the $80 fee the city charges residents to dispose of bulky wastes to the possiblity of the world coming to an end soon.

“Don’t laugh, it’s gonna happen,” one of the speakers told the bemused council.

The other two speakers made brief but specific presentations.

Don Heckler, of Gracie Lane, told public officials that he was disappointed in the way the budget process played out this year. He said he was unhappy that the council at Tuesday night’s hearing took comments, but did not answer questions. Prior to the hearing, he said, residents were not allowed to speak during finance committee meetings on the budget. The process, Heckler said, provided little information or give-and-take between elected officials and their constituents.

Marisol Estrada-Soto, co-chair of the Meriden , asked the council to increase by a half of one percent the Board of Eduation’s $104 million budget request. While the school system’s budget proposal is $4.5 million higher than the current year’s budget, Estrada-Soto said that increase would only allow the district to sustain its current level of services. Adding a half percent more to the budget, she said, would allow school officials to make significant improvements in the district.

“We would like to see our city councilors step forward and give our schools a bit more than just enough to sustain” programs, she said. “We would like to see them improve. Meriden children deserve more than just sustaining. We as parents want more for our children.”

The council is expected to approve a final budget by next month.

Bud Greenbacker April 18, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Why should anyone bother to attend these hearings? I will bet that the Councilor present can not tell you what was said by the speakers. Did any of them make any notes? What the voters want makes no difference, as they no best.
Eileen McNamara April 18, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Well, in all my years of reporting I've never seen such a sparsely attended budget hearing!
Herzovet April 19, 2012 at 03:33 AM
As somebody mentioned in a previous blog - re: politics in Meriden - due to the one-party rule for so many years - people have become jaded and realize that their comments/input at meetings falls on deaf ears and the populous effectively are turned into 'lemmings' - sad, but true. I'm sure others will agree, eh?
Lydia April 19, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Colleen, you are right! The only reason I had NO interest is because I know that the High School issue was already handled, and thank God for that!, and because what's the point of attending if what we say isn't even considered?

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