To the Editor:
The dream began pleasantly. I live in a bucolic New England town. Fine schools; strong institutions of faith; thriving community centers for seniors and teens; shops and restaurants that satisfy most desires (though Greenwich this is not); scores of volunteers (both public and private) that demonstrate every single day a commitment to the Town. Our schools are ranked as some of the best in Fairfield County (and by logical extension in the Country); we pay for that privilege as our per pupil costs are consistent with those in neighboring towns (DRG A for the cognoscenti). Our public infrastructure and public safety are exceptional—and that’s logical as our per resident spending is consistent with that of neighboring towns (it is good to be affluent). And here’s a great benefit—my mil rate is quite a bit lower than those of neighboring towns (I have a very expensive home—as does the average homeowner in this anything-but-average town.)
But now my sleep becomes a tad restless. While my mil rate is quite low (relatively of course), my actual taxes are quite high (compared to the less affluent towns throughout the Nutmeg State.) And oh my the size of my mortgage! I stretched to buy this home, and I like the access to the train that travels directly to NYC (avoiding pesky South Norwalk), but the monthly nut is crowding out other priorities: I am not saving enough for my children’s college education or for my retirement; and a winter vacation certainly is out of the question. I think I have broken into a cold sweat.
I now awake—and with great relief. I am home in Wilton! I am part of a caring and nurturing community that invests in its future (and no community has prospered by diverting resources from the education of its youth.) We spend on a per pupil and per resident basis a lot of money—and as a result of strong and smart spending over many years we have terrific schools and good quality infrastructure. I am privileged to invest in the next generation (my children are finished with WPS), much as those before me invested—the Brennans; the Hannahs; the Healings; the Kelsos.
And with my more modest-priced house (relatively speaking), I can adequately save for college educations and retirement.