Naugatuck Budget Rhetoric v. Reality – 6/5/2014

Posted by Bob on June 5, 2014 under Daily Blogs | 20 Comments to Read

Please read the following regarding the Naugatuck budget recently adopted.  If you calculate the increase in taxes by 0.26 mills to one’s residential property, and then multiple the depreciated car value for those owning motor vehicles by the new mill rate (multiply 2013 car value by 0.04506), many taxpayers will notice LITTLE SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE OR EVEN A NET DECREASE IN THEIR OVERALL TAX BILL.  This even includes some of those organizing the petition drive to send the adopted budget to referendum.  

Much has been said on various social media sites since the adoption of Naugatuck’s 2014 – 2015 budget.  Once again, a group of individuals similar to the one who solicited signatures last year, are asking residents to sign petitions to force the budget to a public referendum.  While this is a valid process authorized by the Borough charter, it is important to understand the facts about the proposed budget if approached by someone asking for a signature.

The increase in the mill rate in the proposed budget is 0.26 of a mill.  To determine its impact on one’s real estate property tax bill, please link here.  Said link contains an analysis of the tax impact on each owner’s property over the past two years.  An analysis of each owner’s motor vehicle assessment can be accessed through this link.  Said values are provided to the Naugatuck Assessor by the State of Connecticut, and include depreciation of existing vehicles.  To calculate the new, motor vehicle tax, multiple the 2013 assessment by 0.04506 (which represents 45.06 mills), or use the motor vehicle calculator provided here.

The 0.26 mill rate increase is also the lowest  increase, not withstanding revaluation, in all but two of the last fifteen years.

  • 2000 – 2001:   55.60 mills
  • 2001 – 2002:  32.60 mills; REVALUATION – decrease of 23 mills (if no revaluation, decrease of 1.1 mills)
  • 2002 – 2003:  35.50 mills; increase of 2.90 mills
  • 2003 – 2004:  33.00 mills; REVALUATION – decrease of 2.50 mills (if no revaluation, increase of 3.1 mills)
  • 2004 – 2005:  35.40 mills: increase of 2.40 mills
  • 2005 – 2006:  37.10 mills, increase of 1.70 mills
  • 2006 – 2007:  38.80 mills, increase of 1.70 mills
  • 2007 – 2008;  41.30 mills; increase of 2.50 mills
  • 2008 – 2009:  31.52 mills; REVALUATION – decrease of 9.78 mills (if no revaluation, increase of 3.69 mills)
  • 2009 – 2010:  31.52 mills; No Increase
  • 2010 – 2011:  32.02 mills; increase of 0.50 mill
  • 2011 – 2012:  33.20 mills; increase of 1.18 mills
  • 2012 – 2013:  33.55 mills; increase of 0.35 mill
  • 2013 – 2014:  44.80 mills; REVALUATION – increase of 11.25 mills (if no revaluation, increase of 0.93 mill)
  • 2014 – 2015:  45.06 mills; increase of 0.26 mill (adopted, subject to referendum)

While revaluation skews the mill rate, the information above includes what the mill rate adjustment would be on an annual basis if there was no revaluation.  Only the 2009-2010 budget, which was approved with no increase in the mill rate; and the 2001 – 2002 revaluation year budget; contain lower mill rate increases than the adopted budget of this year, without regard for revaluation.

Spending in the adopted 2014 – 2015 budget did increase by 3.9% or $4,333,754.00; but revenue from sources other than taxes collectible increased by 8.3%.  This was largely due to increases in state aid, fund balance revenue (for capital projects) and use of the Borough’s health care reserve to offset increases in health benefits. Approximately $4.4 million of the increase in spending is attributable to the increase in employee health care costs (approximately $3.3 million dollars for both municipal and board of education employees), federally mandated upgrades to Naugatuck sewer treatment facility ($800,000.00) and a repair to an existing sewer line ($345,000.00).

All this represents an increase in the mill rate of .26 mills, or 0.5%.   A mill represents one dollar for every thousand dollars of taxable property.   The median home value in Naugatuck according to is $159,800.00.  The increase in taxes for such a home (assessed value at 70% percent of appraised value = $111,860.00) would be $29.08.

There is a lot of information listed above.  One can only wonder how much of it gets explained to someone whose signature is requested on a petition form.  It will also be interesting to know, once petition signatures are submitted, how many of those signing the petition will actually experience no substantial impact to their overall tax bills, or even a tax decrease, when car depreciation is calculated.

Certainly petition organizers point to Naugatuck’s mill rate, which currently ranks as one of the highest in the state.  What that means, however, is also not as simple.  A mill itself is only a multiplier of value.  Naugatuck’s mill rate was never below 55.60 in the entire decade of the 1990′s.  In fact, the mill rate was never lower than 39.7 from 1969 – 1970 through the 1999 – 2000 fiscal year.   Such figures mean little, however, without the context of the actual effect of taxes as a result of the mill rate.  The lowest mill rate the Borough had in recent history was the 31.52 mills in 2008 – 2009, and again in 2009 – 2010.  At that time, homes were valued with 2007 assessments.  I do not recall people being content then about taxes, as some were paying more amounts than today due to higher values.  Naugatuck lost about 26% of its residential property value after the 2012 revaluation.  If one looks at the analysis of tax impact by owner listed on the Borough website, one will find many homeowners who are paying less for real estate taxes than two years ago.

Pointing to mill rates in other communities is a common theme that has been used lately.  Once again, however, we need to know a little about comparative home values.  The median home value in Naugatuck according to is $159,800.00.  At 44.80 mills the tax would be $5,011.33 ($159,800.00 x 70% assessed value).  At 45.06 the tax would be $5,040.41.  The median home value on a house in Fairfield is listed on the same site is listed as $497,600.00.  The assessed value (70%)  of that would be $348,320.00.  The taxes on such a home in Fairfield would be about $8,335.30 ($348,320.00 x .02393 mill rate).  To be fair, I will use Shelton, which has been referenced by some petition supporters.  The median home value is $288,200.00.  At a mill rate of 22.31 mills, the tax on such a home would be lower than in Naugatuck.  Such a home in Shelton at its current mill rate would be $4,500.82 ($288,200.00 * .7 * 0.02231).  While this is in fact lower than Naugatuck, it is not lower proportionate to the difference in the mill rate.

Some of the petition organizers have advocated for additional decreases in spending in the adopted budget.  Let us first consider what has already been removed from the budget.

  • Education:  27 teachers accepted an early retirement incentive package (“ERIP”).  The total reduction in force (“RIF”) for educators is 14.5 positions.  Another 5.5 support positions are not being filled.
  • Public Works:  In addition to 3 vacant positions, 8 employees took an ERIP.  2 of those positions will not be filled as the sanitation operation was privatized.  The Borough has the option not to fill the 6 remaining positions during the 2014 – 2015 fiscal year so that it can absorb the retirement payouts.
  • Visiting Nurses Association (“NVNA”) and Youth and Family Services (“NYFS”):  Both agencies are transitioning to other providers with will reduce staff costs moving forward.
  • Fire:  2 positions were budgeted to be left vacant after retirement.
  • Police:  No new positions.
  • Consolidation of senior bus services.
  • All the capital purchases were offset by revenue additions.  If the capital purchases are eliminated from the budget, the corresponding revenue would likely be returned to the Borough’s fund balance, yielding no effect on the tax rate.

I can not speak for others that supported the aforementioned cuts, but personally I did so with reservations.  We are all aware that times are hard and that taxpayers have been stretched to their limits in many cases, but thinking that such cuts will not effect the quality of life in our community is naive.  NVNA and NYFS have served the Borough honorably and professionally for many years.  While no public works employee will lose his job, we have never had private sanitation collection before.  The demands on public safety continue to grow, but we struggle to invest in necessary resources.  The collective years of teaching experience lost to retirement is staggering.  We are elected or appointed to make hard decisions, and I can honestly say after my ninth budget over the years that very few of the choices are easy.  Everyone wants to reduce costs and eliminate services, but the problems is that it is difficult to agree on which ones to cut.  Budget hearings over the years have been filled with suggestions to “cut, cut, cut”, but “do not cut “fill in the blank” service”.  I pray that the cuts we have already made do not further tear apart the social fabric of our community.  While we have indeed enacted change in the name of government efficiency and reduced costs, only time will tell if our actions prove detrimental to our community.

What we have not heard from the organizers of the petition drive is exactly what additional items should be cut or what, if any, revenue enhancements should be made. Burgess Catherine Ernsky stated “I made sure to voice my opinion and suggestions on further decreasing the borough budget, which includes the Educational Board budget at our meetings. There seemed to be little support for doing this further. I was frustrated and disappointed and I will continue to push for further savings.” Facebook, June 1, 2014.  I do recall Burgess Ernsky, for whom I have a great deal of respect, asking questions and voting against various budgets; but I do not recall any specific proposals that would have had any meaningful impact on reducing the mill rate.  Others voted against different departmental budgets as well, but there were no concrete proposals presented at the adoption meeting to reduce the budget to any significant degree.

One could argue that cuts could have been made to the Board of Education (“BoE”) budget.  That is certainly a large portion of our local budget.  What is different then in years past, however, is that every line item in the BoE budget is presented to the Joint Boards and we share a variety of levels of service.  While state law allows the BoE to spend its allotted money without any input from municipal government, the institutions of cooperation in Naugatuck have changed drastically.  If Joint Board members who are now participating in the petition drive believe more cuts should be made to education, there is some level of duty to at least indicate what educational services should be cut.

State Representative Rosa Rebimbas stated “I am disappointed at the local budget, and even more disappointed at the members who voted for it. I commend the members who had the courage to ask questions, were willing to propose ideas, and voted no where necessary. We can not continue to live this way in Naugatuck.”  Facebook, May 30, 2014.  One would think that someone in Representative Rebimbas’ position would be willing to offer some specifics about exactly with what she is disappointed.

When pressed exactly what Representative Rebimbas believes should be cut in the same social media forum, her response was “A thorough response as to exactly where is not something that can be typed in a facebook post. However, I can assure you that I have met with several members and they have my notes.“  Facebook, June 1, 2014.  I recall none of Representative Rebimbas’ notes being presented at any of the budget hearings or meetings, and no one else presented anything in writing suggesting additional cuts for debate.  I certainly do not expect Representative Rebimbas to present detailed budget proposals through social media conversations, but there was ample opportunity to propose meaningful suggestions for debate throughout the many long months of budget hearings, the public hearing and the eventual adoption meeting.

Not one person on any board enjoys being part of a tax increase.  There are  hard-working community servants, both Republicans and Democrats, who serve on the Finance Board and Board of Mayor and Burgesses each year and formulate the annual budget under difficult circumstances in a non-partisan manner.  After numerous long hours, deliberation and debate, the Joint Boards has approved the 2014 – 2015 budget with one of the lowest mill rate increases possible without actually being flat.  Consider the following adjustments to the mill rate in surrounding towns:

  • NAUGATUCK:  increase of 0.26 mill
  • Ansonia:  decrease of 0.73 mill (used savings account revenue)
  • Beacon Falls:  increase of 0.6 mill
  • Derby:  increase of 0.44 mill
  • Oxford:  increase of 0.9 mill
  • Prospect:  increase of 0.9 mill
  • Seymour:  increase of 0.81 mill
  • Shelton:  no increase / flat mill rate
  • Waterbury:  increase of 1.24 mills (after hearing/pending adoption)
  • Wolcott:  increase of 1.25 mills

Unfortunately, the budget petition referendum drive this year has a strong dose of politics at its core.  It is no coincidence that many of the leaders of the petition drive were also the strongest backers of the 2013 Republican mayoral candidate.  At a time when Naugatuck truly needed a healthy debate about taxes, government reform and our local economy; we were left with one of the most dysfunctional campaigns in recent history.  I welcomed the opportunity to debate the issues and engage more residents in the process.  Campaigns and debate strengthen our democracy, provide information to residents and force us to move beyond simple soundbites.  Unfortunately Naugatuck missed that opportunity.  The politics practiced at the last election by many of those now circulating budget referendum petitions proved extremely detrimental to the last mayoral campaign for which they were involved and the party they represent.  Notwithstanding the damage done to the reputation of our community, “Common Sense” would dictate the quick and complete discard of those tactics; not a re-implementation into Naugatuck’s difficult and complex budgetary process.  Some of the same people responsible for that debacle are now asking residents outside supermarkets to force the budget to referendum without offering any information or context, many of whom might actually be paying little more or even less in overall taxes this year as a result of car depreciation.  Maybe this will have positive results as it will force more residents to actually consider more complex questions than simply “Do you want to pay lower taxes?”.  I have not heard from many people who say no to that question.

After the referendum date is set, we will then undoubtedly hear from the petition organizers how people who support the budget will stay home so that the vote will not qualify with 15% percent requirement.  The Charter specifies a minimum percentage for a reason.  Changing a local charter is a hard and time consuming process that does not happen without a lot of debate and deliberation.  In 2012, voters had the opportunity to make a benign change to make the referendum process easier:  reducing the number of petition signatures for a second and third referendum.   This measure was rejected by voters.  I suggest we consider the possibility that there is a healthy segment our community that believes that the referendum process is dominated by those use it for political gain rather than real budgetary reform.  While such citizens may not choose to publicize their every thought on social media, some may choose to express their opinion by exercising or not exercising their right to vote.

I believe I have voted in all the budget referendums Naugatuck has had, and am certain I will do so again this year.  Personally I feel an obligation to vote as the mayor of this community, even if I question the wisdom and logic behind the referendum process.  That does not mean that others are not entitled to disagree.  The privilege to vote, or not vote, is sacred in this Country; something that has been secured by the men and women of our armed forces who have risked their lives and in many cases died to protect it.  This is not North Korea or some other place that forces its citizens to vote whether or not they choose to do so.  Just because someone waives a Gadsden flag and tells everyone how big of a Patriot he or she is does not mean his or her voting privilege is more important than any other citizen.  Citizens have a right to make an informed decision and cast their respective vote, or not, based upon their respective beliefs and judgments.

Naugatuck cannot afford this politics over people approach any longer.   Throughout my tenure as Mayor I have put great efforts into making my actions and beliefs and those of my administration transparent and accountable.  I have acted openly and required those around me to do the same; and presented both good and bad news with equal candidness and responsibility.  I will continue to do so.   For a community to move forward, we must be able to determine fact from fiction through open dialog and informed debate. Individuals or groups making grand statements offering nothing in support should be considered just that: nothing.  Naugatuck deserves better.  

I would urge any resident concerned about the adopted budget and its corresponding tax implications on their personal finances to contact me directly by email ( ) or on my cell phone (203-217-0876) for more information.  Taxpayers may also contact the Naugatuck Tax Collector’s Office at 203-720-7051, or email Tax Collector Jim Goggin directly at, to learn the exact amount of their new tax bill.


  • Steven Loban said,

    What we are seeing is a never ending cycle of taxation spiraling upward with a corresponding decline in economic viability An alarming inverse relationship. The budget has increased every year since 2009. There may be no new hires on the PD but their overtime has gone from 300k to 500k to 700k. Capital purchases have doubled. There are items in the BOE budget like a nearly 50% raise for a “musical accompanyist”. After testifying last Tuesday I was told the PD computers have special needs and mandates from the state that would prevent us from folding that function into the Borough’s existing IT dept. So, I am to understand then, that the State mandated that the Borough hire an outside person for $62,000/yr? No one working in our existing IT dept. has the skills or background to accomplish the PD’s IT needs? The list goes on and on…Meanwhile we distinguish ourselves and our community by achieving a mill rate higher than New Haven’s or Bridgeport’s! The cycle needs to stop. Here are some words from JFK on the subject: “It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today, and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates….[A]n economy constrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create enough jobs or enough profits.”

  • Don Carten said,

    Very well written and a thorough explanation. It’s too bad that 95% of the people who will sign this petition will not read this. What’s never mentioned is that for most homeowners in Naugatuck the value of their property is their largest investment and as such is the money that will sustain them in their later years. The money derived from that property may well be what supplies them with assisted living, health care and support as well as an inheritance for their children. While saving a few dollars in taxes now may be all well and good (as well as politically expedient) if by doing so you harm the town’s infrastructure and livability to the point you decrease that property values by many thousands of dollars you are doing no one a favor.

  • Yvette Wilmot said,

    Thank you for your insightful comments, and the courage to so clearly state your case. As a taxpayer, I appreciate the hard work you have put into the budget. It’s easy for people to criticize, and I am glad you have made an effort to make them accountable to the public. I would rather see all our energy focused on some long term strategies to improve the process, rather than short-term grandstanding, which is poisonous. Please let me know how I can help, and how I can support Naugatuck.

  • Rosa Rebimbas said,

    Mayor Mezzo, my apologies for my late response to your post in your blog dated June 5, 2014, in which you quoted me. I would have responded earlier, but this evening, I had an event honoring a former Naugatuck resident and others, which I had to attend. This response will address your reference to my quotes.

    Let me begin by first saying that I do stand by my statements, not only on social media, but also in an earlier email to you. Thank you for providing the information you did on your post. It is certainly your right to choose what gets highlighted or not highlighted on your blog, but I did notice that commercial property owners and business owners who pay personal property taxes and/or commercial real estate taxes are not specifically referenced in your post. I have heard from many of these individuals whose taxes have been significantly increased. Their property values have increased and the mill rate continues to increase. From what you stated, you would almost deduce that everyone in the Borough will see only a “little substantial change or even a net decrease in their overall tax bill.” However, nothing could be further from the truth when you are speaking to businesses and commercial property owners who are getting hit in their wallets by the continued “little substantial changes” to the mill rate. Moreover, I have a strong concern on how our mill rate has and continues to challenge us in bringing new businesses into Naugatuck and maintain the ones that we have. You as well as I know that the high mill rate is making it incredibly difficult to lure in new businesses and keep the ones we currently have.

    Second, I also know many residential property owners who are struggling with their homes because their home values have fallen drastically and they have lost their equity. Even worse I know residential property owners who have ruined their credit because they were forced into a short sale because they owed the bank more money than what their property was worth when they decided to sell and move out of Naugatuck. Furthermore, I have also spoken with many residential property owners who hesitate to invest in any improvements to their home, because of the lack of equity in their home, as a result of property values declining, which will not produce a financial return to the homeowner if they were to sell their home in the near future. These are all realities that we are faced with when our tax base disappears in Naugatuck. This is alarming and requires all efforts to examine additional savings in our budget.

    Third, as for my notes regarding the budget, which you referenced, they were not presented to you personally as it was shared with several others with whom I met with. It was never said or implied that it was provided to you. However, if you are sincerely interested in talking about how we can find savings in these budgets, I welcome the opportunity to meet with you, Mr. Bob Butler, and any other person you would like to discuss savings with. If you are not willing to make any changes, then a meeting would not be fruitful. It is never to late to make changes. There would be no need to wait to see if the referendum is successful or not.

    Fourth, you mentioned that I had ample opportunity during the month long meetings to make suggestions. Unfortunately, as you know, my commitment to my position as State Representative is one that does not allow me the ability or time flexibility to make the local budget meetings. You have seen, read, and heard of the extensive hours I spend in Hartford advocating for issues important to both you and Naugatuck and I have made my opinions know to various members of the Boards.

    Lastly, your email to me on June 4, 2014, where you stated to me “I respect your opinion, but unfortunately suspect that it is politically motivated like many of your actions and statements lately. I am also disappointed that you have chosen to put your own ambition and the interest of a faction of your party ahead of Naugatuck, in my humble opinion,” could not be farther from the truth. Your accusation that my actions or any other person’s actions, as you state in your post, are politically motivated, is false and a distraction from the facts. The individuals gathering signatures and signing the petitions are good Naugatuck citizens, who are made up of democrats, republicans, and unaffiliated voters. So, please do not try to spin this argument away from the budget increase.

    If you want a real discussion about the budget and you are open to making changes then my invitation stands. My only motivation is the future of Naugatuck, as I too am a life long resident and business owner in the Borough.

  • Suzanna Sedenszki said,

    Mayor Mezzo,

    Although I am not against paying taxes at all, BUT just like with everything else, I like to see a “return” for my money spent. My biggest issue with this town is the cleanliness and the condition of our roads. Why is that that all neighboring towns have beautiful landscaping almost all year round, but when I drive around Naugatuck, most streets are littered with garbage? I was very upset to see coffee cups and other garbage on Water Street right before Memorial Day. Rubber Avenue, which leads to our millions of dollars worth high school is in very sad condition. Weeds are growing everywhere without being cut down (Rt. 68 bridge, in front of Mario’s Pizza etc.). If homeowners are required to keep their properties clean, why can’t the town make its own landscaping be more appealing to visitors? Everyone talks about how beautiful our downtown area is. Unfortunately that is not the only place that defines Naugatuck. I hate to say this, but if I would be house hunting now, I would be running to another direction.

  • Jim Goggin said,


    While it is a valid point that individual homeowners are not absorbing a slight tax increase. I also respect how hard you work and your love of this community. I would like you to name a single significant cut in the budget which would help to reduce taxes. I don’t believe offering to meet with the Mayor behind close doors helps anyone.

    The Joint Boards made some significant cuts reducing Teachers, firefighters and town employees. Eliminating our VNA, Youth Services and Public trash collection. No increase was given to the library. These were not easy decisions the board made.

    The history of a referendum is it divides the community and has little effect on savings in our wallet.

    It has been said to me that if I was to respond to your comments I would just get a political response and that I would not get any specific cuts. I challenge you to prove these detractors wrong and unite this community behind specific cuts that can be made in the budget.


  • Bob said,

    Hi Representative Rebimbas:

    There is no need to apologize as I was posting on the internet; not a direct communication to you. You did reply rather quickly, and I appreciate your thoughts. I would like to address your numbered points, briefly if possible.

    1. No one is ignoring the impact of a 0.26 mill rate on the business community. I was addressing the petition drive, which from my perspective, appears aimed at soliciting residential homeowners and motor vehicle owners. Commercial real property is subject to the same 0.26 increase. Business personal property, however, is generally subject to depreciation like motor vehicles. My understanding is that the depreciation schedule is more aggressive than those for motor vehicles, which for certain businesses will reduce the tax rate on their personal property from last year’s rates; just like motor vehicles.

    2. I could not agree more about the loss of equity of residential property. Our family and most homeowners in our neighborhood have experienced loss of equity to a significant degree. I will not speak for the rest of Joint Board members, but I believe this is why many of us supported so many cuts in the adopted budget. While local government did not cause the crash of the national housing market and the corresponding 26% loss of residential home value in Naugatuck, we are certainly aware of its devastating impact.

    3. We welcome suggestions, more particularly proposals, during the budget process. The Joint Boards and the Board of Education consider all kinds of proposals and ideas throughout the many months of meetings. Unfortunately that process, at least the initial round of it subject to the referendum, came and went without any specific plans for substantial, further cuts. We still await specifics that can be analyzed.

    4. I re-posted comments you made in public forum; not anything contained in the email you referenced. While I assume all my emails are public and have no issue if someone quotes from them, I try to respect others when private conversations are exchanged. Regardless, I stand by all of the statements I made in the email. I respect your right to a different opinion.

    We have all been open to a discussion about the local budget for many months prior to its adoption. Such openness is inherent in the many budget hearings, workshops and meeting. Many changes, cuts and cost savings have already been made, including several that were quite difficult and painful.

    Enjoy the weekend.

  • Bob said,

    Hi Suzanna:

    I tend to agree with many of your comments. We have neglected our infrastructure for too long. The condition of our roads, bridge, schools, sewer and waste water pipes and many of our public spaces have been sacrificed to reduce costs to taxpayers in each annual budget. I do not know which towns with which you are comparing Naugatuck, but we do have almost 120 miles of roads in the Borough. There is likely to be a bond question on the November ballot for road repair. In many cases, we need people to do a lot of the maintaining and cleanup that you reference. This will become increasingly challenging in the upcoming fiscal year as we are not filling up to eight, soon-to-be positions (on top of three existing vacancies) in Public Works to reduce the cost to taxpayers.

  • Emdio c.cerasale said,

    Mayor Bob,
    You maybe PC(political correct)but its not being truthful.
    Taxes have gone up since I have lived here from 2009 to present and it doesn’t seem its going to end.It worrys us sr.citizens around 40% of the population here in town.
    I moved here because of the referendum and I like Naugatuck.
    We live on a fixed budget and where is it in your plan to help us,update the break for ignore us!!
    The golf course has been in debt for decades and you still support it!!!
    The Blum-Shaperio report was a waste of our could of asked for volunteers,like southbury did for advice/input.There is a lot of smart people in town but with commonsense.Intellectuals are not the only people in town!!!!
    Since you have introduced privatization why don’t you privatize all city departments,it can be done,the private sector does it.
    The Blum -Shaperio report was not adhered too,the DPW did not submit a bid for trash contract.
    School bldgs.that are closed cannot be reopen unless they are renovated to code,another tax increase coming!!!
    If we have to be with less than so-be-it,us sr.citizens of our generation have been doing it for yrs.
    I am afraid for citizens of Naugatuck for things to come,a rich mans town only!!!! Let the citizens have its say,we the people are the town!!!!

  • Emdio c.cerasale said,

    Mayor Bob and the Red Sox guy,Jim G. and always respectfully.
    Again, I would like to say a “Referendun” is a proposed public measure or actual statue to a direct popular vote” for which is the Am.Heritage Dictionary defines it.
    It is not a devisive tool (negative),it is another positive tool for the regular layman to have a chance to vote on where his money is going to be spent and it should never ever be eliminated from our local government. It’s part of our FREE society!!!!
    A lot of people, especially in todays world work two and three jobs some even four believe it or not,just to get the basic necessities in life. Never mind extra’s and they don’t have the time or energy to go to the local meetings. Yes, its frustrating to see few people at these meetings. I too wish there were more in attendance.
    The” Referendum” is a to me, a “WARNING” sign to taxpayers to wake up and pay attention to where their money is going,sorry to say but this is reality.
    Many citizens do not go to local meetings for reasons such as,you can’t fight city hall,mayor has it in the bag,they don’t listen anyway,its a click,to many lawyers and they intimidate and humiliate the people and some people are afraid to speak in public fearing to be threatened sorry to say, but this is what I hear.
    On April 1st,2014, I attended a local meeting for which I have a disk copy of the meeting. I myself was exposed to tactics by a elected borough member at this meeting, to try to humiliate me on an issue but later during the second public speaking session I called him out on it and so did others in attendance and he did apologize for the remarks.
    I have a strong character and don’t ever put up with this
    These kind of actions plus elected borough members not reading there e-mails from local citizens and admitting they do not read there e-mails. Stop the big egos!!!
    I gave you input on the budget at this meeting, take a local Sr. Citizens Advice.
    The Union too,turned against the citizens of Naugatuck.Contract-out all job positions to save more money.

  • Rosa C. Rebimbas said,

    Jim Goggin,

    I only just now read your comment as this is not a blog I check often. First, I believe today is your birthday so I want to take the opportunity to wish you a happy birthday.

    Never did I or anyone else say that the meeting would be behind closed doors. We can have it in any setting the Mayor would like, and certainly can be recorded if you wish, and I would welcome your attendance. Certainly, it would assist our budget greatly to look at not only cost savings, but also options for additional tax collection and other types of revenue gains.

    I am well aware of the cuts that some of the members of the Joint Boards voted for and made and certainly that was their decision to do so, and I actually don’t agree with all of those cuts, especially with regard to teachers.

    My historical memory of a referendum is slightly different from yours. I believe a referendum gives the community a voice and unites tax payers. The only thing that divides a community are false accusations of political grandstanding and demeaning the Naugatuck voters who are exercising their right to have a petition.

    As for your “challenge” I do not take challenges when it comes to posts, but I welcome a real in-person discussion at anytime to address the Borough budget, which is what the voters are requesting and deserve.

    Thank you,

  • Budget debate gets political | Citizen's News said,

    [...] voice his concerns. On his blog (, Mezzo wrote a more than 3,000-word post titled “Naugatuck Budget Rhetoric V. Reality.” In it, he not only spells out specifics about the budget and defends spending practices, he [...]

  • Emdio c.cerasale said,

    Mayor and Citizens,
    My Opinions:
    -where is it in your-the elected borough plan to update sr.citizens tax break like mayor oleary has done.its outdated.we can’t pay anymore!!!!!
    -lease or sell the dam golf keep this continuous debt. for yrs. in the budget.
    -tell the elected borough members not to lecture/humiliate the citizens at meetings.maybe they will attend more meetings.stop the big egos.
    -get the union out of this city,there killing us. privatize all city depts.the private industry does.ever hear of temp.contract personnel.united aircraft has had them for yrs.
    -renovate old firehouse rd. and rubber ave with country shops and resturants,its so dumpy and with paver rds. and walkways.
    -I hope the legal bills for the naug. ambulance issue is not outstanding,we don’t need waste.
    -tell dep.mayor citizens have the right to talk in a gen. manner on all issues of concern.who is she to tell us that we can’t do it at the public podium.
    -if we have to live without some things then so-be-it,the old generation did.
    -to open a closed up school you need to renovate it up to code= more tax increase.
    -referendums is the citizens=freedom.
    -I think its time for a town mgr.- town council form of government for which would see more productivity and effiency.
    -The VNA will never be the same.So.central is not our VNA!!!!
    -LET CITY EMPLOYEES DRIVE THERE OWN VEHICLES= No city vehicle privliges anymore.
    -increase all city permits and licensing across the board.
    -take more tax money from local housing authority,they can give it to the town,enough of breaks.
    -selling train station is ridiculous,lease it.
    -bring in more businesses and hi-tech etc.
    -tell elected officials to read citizens e-mails and follow-up on them.more than 80% ignored my e-mails.
    -have elected officials sacrifice some of there salary for the budget.
    -It seems that Naugatuck has a never ending charge account.I live within my means, im not a showboat type of a person,what about you.I don’t spend what I don’t have.The spoiled generation can’t take living on a budget!!!!
    God Bless America!!! Thanks, Emidio C.

  • Dilza said,

    I urge our public officials to work together with all Naugatuck citizens to find a middle ground.

    We MUST change the direction in which our town is going; we have neglected our streets and the infrastructure of our town for too many years and in the end, it will only hurt us; homeowner’ and business alike. We need to attract new business and homeowners but we can’t do that without positive changes.
    Instead of complaining, how bad things are, lets work together to find a solution on how to improve our town so more people and business want to move here.
    Each year so many of us spend so much time arguing, instead, let’s put the energy into positive actions.

  • Emdio c.cerasale said,

    The REFERENDUM and more REFERENDUMS is the way for the citizens to express there dissatisfactions with this administration.It is a FORMAL CHARGE that something is DEFINITELY WRONG HERE IN TOWN.Going to the local meetngs/hearings has been a waste of the citizens time.This administration the so called, elite intellectuals with no commonsense DON’T LISTEN!!!! Were not so called ARGUING,were making a FORMAL STATEMENT OF FACTS.I listed and conveyed my positive suggestions.Its time we have a Town Mgr- Elected Council form of government.It has worked for Cheshire,ct most responsibly.A REFERENDUM is not ARGUING it is a NECESSITY IN THIS TOWN.

  • harriet said,

    So your first comment is that I have to depend on depreciation of my vehicle to get a lower tax bill? What kind of convoluted logic is that? It is a truly ridiculous statement.
    My car tax bills are so high that now I hear that the Borough may split the bill in two so that people can afford to pay their car taxes.

  • Group hands in petitions for referendum | Citizen's News said,

    [...] Robert Mezzo recently took to his blog,, to defend the budget and the increase in the mill rate. Mezzo said that “many taxpayers will [...]

  • Kristin said,


    As you stated “The Joint Boards made some significant cuts reducing Teachers, firefighters and town employees. Eliminating our VNA, Youth Services and Public trash collection.”

    Considering these “significant cuts,” I am confused as to how there was not “a single significant cut in the budget which would help to reduce taxes.” This in and of itself seems to be quite a contradiction.

    As a result, I believe every town resident has the right to question concerns they may have, considering the contradictions clearly posted in commentary.

    The issue that I find most disturbing is that residents, who clearly care about the Borough, are being belittled for wanting to have a voice. As a new homeowner myself, I have to say I am disappointed in how I have been made to feel that the administration is taking a “politics over people” approach in assuming that residents who sign the referendum are doing so blindly.

  • Jim Goggin said,


    I know every member of the Joint Boards works hard to lower the budget. What is the next cut? Is it the Golf Course, Middle School or Freshman Sports, Library, Senior Center, Busing for the Schools. Personally I don’t want any of these to go. I believe serious cuts already made are significant enough. Too many positive things happening in our community nobody wants to pay more.
    The Referendum is upon us please call the Tax Office 203-720-7051 to check if your taxes are going up. There is also much information on town web page located in Assessors Department. I’m not suggesting people don’t know what a Referendum is for or about but for people who want to know about their individual taxes I would like to make sure their informed. My cell phone is 203-996-6675 I will be glad to answer any questions anyone may have that I can help out with.
    I along with everyone on both sides of the issue of taxes want a better Naugatuck. Let’s make sure all are aware of what taxes have actually increased if at all.

  • Jim Goggin said,


    I agree our car taxes are a direct reflection of our mill rate. We are splitting the payments in two if over $300.00. I think it is time to have one mill rate for all towns on motor vehicles. I would like to see car taxes eliminated but unfortunately this would probably not affect the dollars we pay.

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