The Connecticut General Statutes allow for the town of Fairfield to reassign the duties of the Board of Finance, whose members are elected to six-year terms, to the town legislature. It is long past time for the Board of Selectman to get the ball rolling to make that happen.
The finance board was established in 1918 when the town was in dire financial straits, but it just no longer serves any useful purpose. It represents a step in the process we do not need.
Michael Tetreau, our 60-something First Selectman who does not own a home in our town, plans to present his budget proposal and associated whopping tax increase to a joint meeting of the Boards of Selectmen and Finance on Tuesday, 19 Feb. The two boards then will appear jointly, through the month of March as they join with the department heads, plus the elected Board of Education, to "throw the spaghetti on the wall" to see what they can make stick -- budget- and tax-wise.
The two superfluous executive boards won't vote on a final budget deal until early April, and they will only publish that recommended budget in late April for all to see. Nevertheless, our town legislature, the folks who know us and represent us in our districts, will have to adopt a budget in early May. That process is absurd and hardly democratic. Let the executive branch issue a budget proposal for Fairfield in mid-February and then give our town legislators a full two months, and a little more, to listen to the taxpayers and to finalize an honest budget. Anything less harkens back to the days when Fairfield was part of colonial England and subject to the rule of a king and his local ladies and lords. Or you might just say that I am bored with the ladies and lords of the two executive boards whose annual March budget madness and back room dealings is nothing more than a charade posing as transparency.
The Board of Finance stood up and walked out on the RTM's responsible budget vote last year. Sadly, they did not keep on walking. Time is long past to send the finance board packing into the history books of Fairfield.