An attorney for the town has validated a petition submitted by the Clinton Taxpayers Association that proposes reducing the funding for the new Morgan School from $64 million to $5 million, and selectmen have scheduled a town meeting for 7 p.m., June 26.
The requisite number of signatures - 100 - were verified by the town clerk, according to CTA spokesman Kirk Carr. Carr said the group collected more than 450 signatures in all.
“The Clinton Taxpayers Association never doubted the viability of this petition under the Town Charter and State Statutes,” said Pam Fritz, president of the CTA, in a press release issued Thursday.
“We are very grateful to the hundreds of people who signed our petitions, to the scores of people who have contributed to our legal and campaign war chest and to David Denvir, our attorney, who has so capably guided us through this delicate process” she added.
. But the group rewrote it, Carr said, and went back out to get signatures.
In April, 2,058 voters , while 2,018 voted against.
In a June 11 letter to First Selectman Willie Fritz (provided to Patch by the CTA), attorney Michael J. Wells wrote, "the petition as worded is valid … it does not place the town or its official in violation of Connecticut General Statutes. … It does not violate provisions of the Charter in regards to town meetings. The Board of Selectmen should schedule a town meeting to consider this resolution.”
The difference, Wells wrote, was that the new petition seeks to reduce the expenditure to $5 million, leaving "an ammount sufficient in place to cover expenditures made to date."
“Taxation without representation is still wrong,” Len Fried, Chair of the CTA Morgan Task Force, said in the press release. “Timing the vote on this resolution with one fourth of the taxpayers not present and following years of needlessly complicating absentee ballot procedures, whether intended or not, disenfranchised people who are going to pay much of the bill.”
In the press release, Carr said "the CTA must now collect 300 valid eligible voter signatures to adjourn the town meeting on this resolution to a referendum." The group plans to "mount a communications campaign to educate voters that the cost of a new school is a tax time-bomb and an economic poison pill for the town. While Clinton has the highest mill rate on the shoreline, the second highest annual cost per pupil and declining enrollment, adding $3 million in annual fixed costs to service the debt for a new school is inconceivable.”
According to the release, the Clinton Taxpayers Association mounted a successful petition campaign in 1991 to reverse a new school referendum. “This can and has been done before,” Pam Fritz said in the release, “and the CTA has the traction to do it again, now.”