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Group List Problems With Fairfield's Taxes

Kate Daniello is the co-founder of We The People of Fairfield, a taxpayer advocacy group. She submitted this letter to the editor in response to Fairfield’s rising tax rate for 2011-2012 .

We The People’s Letters to the Editor have been called divisive lately, pitting parents against everyone else, i.e. seniors, empty-nesters, small business owners, the recently unemployed and, yes, even some parents and teachers who see other ways of achieving limited tax relief.

Petitioners seeking to put back the $800,000 reduction to the Board of Education budget say that this amount results in only $40 more per taxpayer. No one is fooled by such silly tactics. Anyone who has lived in Fairfield for the past 10-plus years has seen the devastation these tax increases have caused. Seniors have moved out in unprecedented numbers, choosing to live closer to their children who could not afford to come back to Fairfield and raise their families. Their grown children cannot afford this town, and if we keep increasing taxes at this rate, the children enrolled in our schools will not be able to live here either. WTP’s mission is to keep this town affordable for everyone who lives here now and for those children who want to come back to live here later.

Superintendent David Title, the Board of Education and parents continually cite an excellent school system as the main reason our home values have increased. However, what most real estate agents in town will tell you is that Fairfield’s property taxes continue to grow faster than those in Westport, Greenwich, New Canaan or Darien. These agents will also tell you that most home buyers, if they can, will choose to pay up for a home value that has less taxes than the other way around. You never get the taxes you pay back. But as long as the market remains stable, you do get the amount you paid for your home back.

Additionally, WTP supporters believe that throwing more money at our schools will not make them excellent. What makes a school system superior is parents with high expectations for their children (which we have), students who are highly motivated (which we have) and teachers who are dedicated (which we definitely have). Once again WTP wants to applaud the sacrifice the teachers made a year ago giving up their salary and step increases. Only some of the administrators did this. WTP is dismayed and upset with the reductions Title has put forth to the Board of Education for approval. The Representative Town Meeting proposed reductions that limited the effect on the students, teachers, paraprofessionals and programs. Why were they ignored?  What about reductions to administrative staff?

Please join We the People of Fairfield and have your voice heard. Thank you.

Kate Daniello

We the People of Fairfield, Co-founder


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