Torrington, CT - After weeks of contentious debate, Torrington’s complex city budget process ended with dire consequences for the city. Faced with yet another budget shortfall, Mayor Elinor Carbone cut the Board of Education’s budget request by millions of dollars.
The budget was so problematic that it required the mayor to cast a tie-breaking vote despite her party’s majority on the City Council. The rare breaking of the party line by Republicans did not stop there, as one Board of Education member resigned from the Republican Town Committee in protest.
The city’s budget process lacked transparency. In fact, the City Council was forced to vote on the budget at its June 5th meeting even though the final numbers from the state were unknown and contracts with the fire and police departments have not been finalized. City Councilman Paul Cavagnero criticized the mayor over the budget’s uncertainty before voting no. He said, “This is totally inconsistent with good city management.”
Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Ivain also objected to passing of the revised budget. “These proposed cuts were not made available to the public for review in advance of this meeting,” Ivain said. “This mayor plays games with the numbers—they’re purposely obfuscated, and there are legitimate concerns about how state funds are allocated.”
Ivain went on to say that “The mayor and her party refuse to acknowledge that Torrington is in a budget crisis of their own making—not because of COVID, or our decision to build a new school following years of neglect, but because the mayor has failed to grow our economy to keep pace with spending needs and inflation.”
“Mayor Carbone pats herself on the back for taking scissors to the budget every year,” Ivain said. “At the same time, she refuses to accept responsibility that her inability to attract and retain businesses to our city is a monumental failure of her administration. The people of Torrington are tired of hearing her excuses. Apparently she fails to understand that the city government’s role is not merely to identify problems but to solve them.”