Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
McCoy off the mark

Letters to the Editor
Journal Inquirer
March 28, 2008

We were surprised by incorrect statements made by Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy (“Vernon council sets budget,” March 20) following the March 19 council meeting which we, along with state Sen. Tony Guglielmo, were asked to attend to provide state revenue budget estimates.

According to the State Office of Fiscal Analysis, Vernon has received an increase of more than $1.5 million in education and municipal aid in 2008 and is slated to receive another increase of $640,166 in 2009. This increases Vernon’s share of statutory aid to an all-time high of $20,867,683, with an increase of over $2.1 million within two years alone.

In addition, Vernon received $600,000 from the real estate conveyance tax in 2007 and is expected to receive similar amounts by the end of fiscal years ’08 and ’09. This is additional revenue to help offset local taxes.

Further, Vernon received more than $46 million in state school construction dollars, as well as $2.4 million in special grants for the current renovations to the Memorial Building and the conversion of the Roosevelt Mills.

The facts speak for themselves, and to suggest that Vernon has been losing money is both disingenuous and irresponsible.

It is also important to clarify comments made by Vernon’s Deputy Mayor Dianne Wheelock that Vernon needs a lobbyist because Vernon has only two elected officials, who are outnumbered by larger towns.

Vernon has three elected officials representing their interests at the capitol, not two. One of them is Republican Senator Guglielmo, who has more than 15 years of legislative experience. We work together as a bipartisan team on many issues of importance to the town. To exclude the senator from the equation appears to only serve one purpose and that purpose is to justify the need for spending taxpayer money to hire the mayor a lobbying firm. If the mayor and deputy mayor are so concerned about the delegation’s well-being, why didn’t they call any of us about the issue?

The truth is that a lobbyist cannot introduce bills. A lobbyist has no voice or vote on the floor of either the House or the Senate or in committee. And, most importantly a lobbyist does not increase Vernon’s representation. There is no barrier to the mayor approaching the Vernon legislators in their jurisdictions and we welcome his presence at the Capitol. We suspect that the mayor would also fare very well by approaching the Republican Governor’s Office without paying $30,000 of taxpayer dollars for a lobbyist.

Claire Janowski
Joan Lewis

Janowski is the state representative for the 56th District. Lewis is the state representative for the 8th District.