As we all know, this town is likely to lose a substantial amount of state revenue for the coming year. Although as of this writing the state budget has not been passed, the figure we are hearing is that Fairfield will see a cut of around $2.3 million. Such a substantial shortfall will result in significant and corresponding cuts to town services and the education budget.

This was the situation members of the Representative Town Meeting found themselves in during their May 2 budget meeting. Democratic members of the RTM came prepared to discuss the benefit of postponing the budget vote until the exact amount of the state budget cuts were known. Speaking for the “Republican majority,” RTM Rep. Michael Herley first urged the body to “put aside politics” and then almost in the same breath said that we “need to send a clear message to Hartford.” Is this what Mr. Herley means by putting politics aside?

We know, just as he and the Republican members of the RTM know, that voting for the budget in full does not mean an avoidance of cuts. Instead, the Republicans simply seek to dodge their responsibility while putting the burden of balancing the budget on the shoulders of the first selectman and the Board of Education.

Perhaps the next budget go-around the Republicans could step up and start putting the people of Fairfield in the forefront of their decision-making. That would certainly be a welcome change.

Heather Dean

District 3

Fairfield Representative Town Meeting