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Disappointed With Council On Tax Recovery



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To the Editor:

I am writing to share my disappointment with the Legislative Council over the recent developments with Capital Tax Recovery related to the town’s efforts to put out of state vehicles on the local property tax rolls pursuant to Connecticut law.

The pandemic and post-pandemic surge in out of state vehicles in town was something that I witnessed and received regular complaints about from residents and rightly so. Over the last year or so I worked with our tax assessor, Kathy Brown, in attempting to curb the problem. Kathy was able to identify all residences with no motor vehicles registered to the address and wrote letters (approximately 500-600) reminding the residents of Connecticut law and asking politely for compliance. The friendly letter did spur some responses and some registrations but they did not have a material impact on the problem. The nice way did not work.

One of the biggest motivators for me to rectify the situation was all of the people I would come in contact with who I knew were in a tough financial position, yet they did everything they were supposed to do from a tax standpoint. Many would volunteer to me that they supported what they referred to as “my budget” and the education budget. It didn’t and still doesn’t seem right to me that some willfully flaunt the registration requirement at the expense of those that take it seriously.

This past fall Kathy began looking at companies that could assist the town in its efforts and she ultimately recommended Capital Tax Recovery, which, to my knowledge, was one of two companies providing the service and for some area towns. By the time the appropriation was on my desk my time as first selectman was fleeting and I felt that it should be a decision of the new first selectman. During the transition I shared the issue and proposed solution with First Selectman Jeff Capeci and was pleased to see that he pursued the initiative and put it on the agenda of the first meeting of the new Board of Selectmen and in short order they approved it followed by the Board of Finance.

What confounded me was the log jam the appropriation faced with this Council as questions related to matters of contract, a power solely reserved for the Board of Selectmen in the Charter, ultimately led to Capital Tax Recovery withdrawing its proposal as its written responses to questions apparently were still not satisfactory and they were summoned to meet in person. Now there are no good options to materially deal with the problem, so it will likely persist.

I do not understand the outsized concern for people not doing the right thing at the expense of the vast majority that do. With the budget weeks away from the Council’s oversight, I hope greater concern will be shown for the residents who actually foot the bill.

Dan Rosenthal


Editor’s Note: Dan Rosenthal is the former First Selectman of Newtown.

A letter from Dan Rosenthal.
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