PLAINVILLE - The Town Council has formed a committee to assess how to make up state aid cuts.
The committee will consist of Republican Councilors Kathy Pugliese and Deb Tompkins and Democratic Councilors Rosemary Morante and Chris Wazorko. They are expected to meet in December.
Town Manager Robert E. Lee said that total cuts were increased last Friday and now total $1,904,005 including a $1,823,324 reduction in education cost sharing funds.
“This is a reduction of 1.38 mills which would require a 4.2 percent tax increase to make up,” said Lee.
Lee said the council has several options for how to approach the loss of funds. They could reduce education spending, adjust tax levels, take from the town’s unassigned fund balance or a combination of those. They could also not fill open positions which exist in the roadways and buildings and grounds departments or fill the assistant director position at the library.
State Rep. Bill Petit, R-Plainville, was then invited to the podium to discuss the state issue.
“We were blindsided by these cuts,” he said. “The agreement with the bipartisan budget was that we would attempt to retain as much ECS and municipal funding as possible. The governor has chosen to make state cuts more in line with his executive order, which we all fought against due to its draconian cuts to ECS.”
Petit said House Republicans will seek a special session to ensure that funding cuts are not as severe.
“This lies in the hands of Speaker Joe Aresimowicz who also voiced his displeasure with these cuts,” said Petit.
“This a tough situation, we are trying to dig ourselves out after 40 years of overspending when the economic times were good. The compromise budget at least created a foundation to attempt to fix this problem.”
Petit added that state revenues have come in under protections.
“The council needs to be very conservative,” he said. “There may be more deficient mitigation cuts in 2018.”
Town Council Chair Kathy Pugliese thanked Petit for his efforts but said the town is running out of time.
“We are six months into our budget and it will be very difficult to mitigate these cuts to our budget without drastic steps, which we probably have to take,” she said.
Lee also brought up the lawsuit that Waterbury initiated against pharmaceutical companies in response to the opioid crisis. Several communities had joined them.
Pugliese said she wishes to have those who wrote the lawsuit explain what they are proposing before the council and what it means for Plainville. She asked Lee to arrange this.
Councilor Morante agreed with this idea and said it would also be beneficial for residents.
“The evidence shows that the pharmaceutical companies greatly benefited from lying to people about how addictive these substances are and that they manipulated information,” said Lee.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at or .