The budget season is again behind us, and this was one of the easiest from an RTM standpoint in the 12 years I have been on the legislative body.

As I stated at the meeting Monday night it took time and a plan to get us to where we are now. This administration has worked long and hard to get costs under control and to make sure we had the money in place to keep our AAA rating intact as well as get our pension and other liabilities under control.

Many elected official have gotten up and spoken about this being an election year budget and how there are areas of this budget that will not be able to hold the line next year with claims that we are destined to see larger increases in the future. These inflammatory remarks are made with no basis in fact, only assumptions. We all know there is no way to predict the future, but you move forward based on past experience and if you look at what has happened over the last four years you will see that the town of Fairfield is in the best financial shape it has been in years. Planning and perseverance in the face of adversity has brought us to where we are today. The plan is in place and moving us in the right direction.

The future of Fairfield is bright, and this is still the town that people want to live in and where they want to send their children to school. We are a destination in Fairfield County like no other. We need to keep moving forward instead of looking back. We need to recognize that it was a long hard road but over the last four years we have made tremendous strides.

The RTM has been looking at steadily declining budget increases over the last four years. The Republican caucus of the RTM would have you believe that it was they who have reined in these savings and given the taxpayer a break. Looking at the facts over the last four years it has actually been the first selectman, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance that have done all the heavy lifting.

Over the last four years the proposed increase in taxes on budgets that were brought to the RTM before action was taken (and after action was taken) are as follows: FY13 4.45 percent (4.01 percent), FY14 2.92 percent (2.40 percent), FY15 2.38 percent, (1.96 percent), FY16 1.64 percent (1.64 percent). That totals 1.34 percent that the RTM has reduced over the last four years or a total savings or about $140 actual dollars.

The bottom line is that Fairfield is on the right track and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. While many of my colleagues would lead you to believe otherwise, that light is not an oncoming train!

Hal Schwartz

RTM minority leader

District 7