The Chase Building in downtown Waterbury. Photo by John Murray
After the last issue of the Waterbury Observer was published our newspaper received a phone call from Steve Gambini, an aide to Mayor Mike Jarjura. Gambini wanted to know if the Observer had fact checked the most recent full page ad in the Observer purchased by Democrat nominee for mayor, Neil O'Leary. Observer publisher, John Murray, told Gambini that the Observer does not fact check political ads, and that the space was purchased by the O'Leary campaign, and they provided the content.
Two days later the Observer received a press release from the Jarjura campaign that disputed the facts in the O'Leary ad. The following is the release from the Jarjura campaign, and a response from the O'Leary campaign.
Statement From Jarjura Campaign
Neil O'Leary in his recent print media advertising attack on Mayor Mike Jarjura's record on taxation is dishonest or demonstrates a lack of basic ability in math. In print ads in the Waterbury Observer and the Republican American, O'Leary attempts to claim that Mike Jarjura has raised taxes 200 percent during his tenure. Voters should be leery of a man who claims he's able to run a $400-million corporation and cannot even get the basics of the city's budget right. Since taking office in 2002, Jarjura has held the line on taxes and the owner of the average single-family home has seen tax increases of less than $75 per year -- a rate well below the annual rate of inflation.
"I'm proud of the stability we've been able to bring to the finances of the city," said Jarjura. "Nearly a third of our tax burden is the result of past administrations to fund the very generous pension and retiree medical benefits that Mr. O'Leary is enjoying today. Without those costs, Waterbury would have the lowest tax burden of any city in the state."
If O'Leary can prove his outlandish claim about Jarjura's record, he should show his work. The Jarjura campaign is prepared to offer a simple, yet detailed analysis that demonstrates the city's tax burden kept well below the national cost of living index while still maintaining essential city services and addressing long-neglected capital and financial needs.
When O'Leary fails to support his claim, voters should file it away with his previously documented ignorance on other important issues such as the Board of Education's nepotism policies and state law on park liability when they get to the polls on Nov. 8.
Response From O'Leary Campaign
Attached are sample property taxes. Anyone can go to the city's property tax database online and review all properties. Since Jarjura took office, some taxpayers are paying twice as much, some are paying three times as much, a few are paying more than three times as much, and some are paying less than that (for example, the taxes on Jarjura's condo have actually decreased). It averages out to just over 200%.
The following data was e-mailed over by the O'Leary campaign....