By John Mofitt
Yankee thrift they call it. Keeping your thermostat down at night. Turning lights off in unoccupied rooms. Taking quotes from insurance companies and comparing them.
We all do that, at least those of us on a budget. Strangely, the City of Milford never did.
For over a decade, the city’s thermostat stayed up at night, the lights stayed on, and the municipal health insurance bill got paid without a single glance at a competitor.
The result of negligence of tried and true fiscal prudence is that Milford went from a city people moved to because of low taxes to a city people are moving out of because of high taxes.
Although Mayor Blake hasn’t been able to reverse the trend of constantly rising taxes, he has significantly contained it.
In 2012, the city budget went up just 1.24 percent, well below inflation. A significant savings resulted from Mayor Blake taking a look at other options for our city employee health coverage. This common sense approach resulted in almost $2 million in savings for essentially the same plan.
The mayor installed lighting timers at our city fields so lights won’t stay on when fields are not in use. He put city thermostats on timers so they go down at night. These are little acts of prudence saved the city much.
If this weren’t enough, city services have actually improved since Mayor Blake took office. Anyone who has driven past Anderson Avenue Park will attest that it is a great place for families to enjoy a multitude of activities. The city green is the pride of New England. And yes, the trash is getting picked up and the streets are still safe.
In 2013, the average tax bill for a resident of Milford went up almost $75 less than the year before, despite the dramatic increase of mandatory payments the City has to make.
In the recent mayoral debate, Mayor Blake’s opponent criticized the mayor for taking $5 million out of the reserve fund, the city’s rainy day fund. The mayor explained that he did that to reduce the burden on taxpayers. The fund is there for just that purpose.
A short time later his opponent criticized Mayor Blake for not maintaining the level of spending to support a local community organization. Again, Mayor Blake set the record straight. He explained that the community group is an important asset to the community and that the city has supported it generously, but tough financial decisions had to be made.
His opponent replied that he would have supported the community group by withdrawing more funds from the reserve account, the same account he criticized the mayor for tapping in the first place.
Mayor Blake has a passion for Milford. He works tirelessly every day to make sure it remains a quintessential New England city; fiscally responsible to its taxpayers, nurturing for its children, affordable for its citizens, and respectful of its colonial history.
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