Where is the seat of power in Greenwich government?
Nope, it’s not in the First Selectman’s office. Not anywhere physical, in fact. It’s an invisible seventh vote, wielded by six members of one party on the town’s finance board, the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET).
- Why do we let costs rise while we dicker for years over replacing our crumbling Central Middle School? Blame the seventh vote.
- Why do we keep denying the Fire Department’s request to replace an old ladder truck, with costs having risen by $400K since they first requested it, and delivery times having increased to 2-3 years? Blame the seventh vote.
- Why don’t we fix a shuddering, 1940s era elevator in the main library? Blame the seventh vote.
The six Republicans on the town finance board have wielded that invisible seventh vote an unprecedented 40 times this year to delay, deny and dissemble over crucial funding for a better Greenwich. This ‘kick the can’ doctrine won the day over the objections of the BET’s six Democrats.
So how did the Republicans get that invisible seventh vote?
The slate that wins the most total votes gets the tie-breaker. On the surface, the elected board is balanced between six Democrats and six Republicans. But, in fact, the party that wins the most total votes for their BET slate during the town election gets an invisible, seventh vote, the tie-breaking vote, and thus control of the BET.
Since the BET controls the town’s purse strings, it, more than other offices, occupies the seat of power. And, the GOP has won the most total votes in 98 of the past 100 years!
It used to be the case that there was broad agreement across both parties on the BET and key decisions were made through collaboration and consensus. Unfortunately, that process has unraveled in recent years. About the faulty, 80-year-old elevators at the library, Republican Leslie Tarkington said, “Maybe we can defer these elevators for one year…if it’s been waiting since the 1940s.” And so the invisible seventh vote was cast.
Delay equals higher costs
Taxpayers are facing higher construction costs because of this Republican ‘kick the can’ doctrine. The Old Greenwich School renovation will cost an additional $3 million because BET Republicans prevented the project from staying on track to break ground next year.
The consequences of this type of shortsighted mismanagement were brought into sharp focus in a League of Women Voters report spotlighting a $1.6 billion backlog in town infrastructure projects.
Help Democrats get the seventh vote and keep costs down
Every two years, including this year, Greenwich residents have an opportunity to elect representatives who are supposed to listen and make smart decisions on the town budget that includes everything from first responder funding to school building projects. Unfortunately, turnout in our town elections is less than 50%. That has to change.
The Democratic slate of BET candidates has decades of impressive financial experience; they value input from residents, and they will prioritize projects that improve your quality of life and safety while keeping taxes low.
The BET makes decisions that impact you. Don’t leave it to others to look after your priorities. Make your voice heard this November 7th and vote for all 6 BET Democrats.
Think you know local government?
Take our quiz and see how you score!
1) Administrators notice significant cracks in a school building and ask for funds to study if the building is safe. Which town body/bodies must approve the request?
__ The Board of Education
__ The Board of Estimate and Taxation
__ The Representative Town Meeting
Editorials that caught our eye
Democratic BET candidates: “What would Greenwich look like under new Democratic financial leadership?” A lot like the Greenwich community you may remember: respectful debate, smart, collaborative fiscal planning, long-term investment in our town infrastructure and services, and a sharp eye on keeping taxes low.
“Greenwich can do better,” says Laura Erickson, candidate for First Selectperson, in this feature in Greenwich Free Press.
For your calendar
Monthly coffee drop in. Come chat with fellow Democrats and find ways to get involved. Coffee for Good, 48 Maple Avenue. Saturday September 9,10:00 a.m.
Help us get our Democratic slate elected in Greenwich this November! Come make calls with us at our headquarters at 23 Benedict Place, rear entrance, between 5:30 and 7pm on Thursdays through November 2nd!
DTC monthly meeting. Learn how to get involved at our monthly meeting. Thursday, September 21, Town Hall Meeting Room. 7:30 p.m.
Heading out of town this fall?
Don’t forget to request your absentee ballot! And don’t think your vote doesn’t matter. In a recent election, a candidate for the Board of Education won by one vote. It only takes a moment to make your voice heard.
Thinking about running for the RTM? September 15 deadline!
You can have a positive impact on Greenwich by running for the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). This November 7, every seat on this 230 member body will be up for election. All it takes to get on the ballot are a few dozen signatures. Learn more about serving here. When you’re ready to go, download the petition here and start gathering signatures.
Don’t miss our campaign kickoff picnic
Join fellow Democrats, our municipal candidates and our local statewide elected officials for our Annual Campaign Kickoff Picnic. Sunday, September 10th, 12-3 pm at the Greenwich Botanical Center, 130 Bible Street in Cos Cob. Click here to register. We look forward to seeing you…rain or shine!
|Volume 2, Number 8 • September 8, 2023|
|Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.|
|Greenwich Democratic Town Committee P.O. Box 126 Greenwich, CT 06836|