I have a heart for service and it's difficult for me to stand by when I know I can contribute positively to the community in which I live. I desire to take my work and service experience and apply it to make some positive change to the office that I seek.
What is the most pressing local issue facing your community and how would you solve it (within the capacity of the office for which you are running)?
Without a doubt, a soaring property tax rate is the most pressing issue in New London. It must be addressed on multiple levels. Initially, getting spending under control by going line-by-line through the budget to eliminate waste and redundancies, is a must. Additionally, we must begin steps to lobby on a state level so that non-profit entities will be required to contribute to the tax base, which is not currently happening and has created a situation where nearly 50% of our city's land is non-taxable. While this is happening, a fee-for service policy should be enacted, so that agencies currently receiving city services will be paying for them, thereby relieving the burden from taxpayers. Last, and certainly not least, is economic development. Our city should be aggressively marketing itself to outside agencies, by advertising vacant land and buildings and working with interested developers to cultivate funding sources. We should ensure that our city is as attractive as possible and is capitalizing on its history by better utilizing marked historic districts to bring in sorely missing tourism dollars. It's not an overnight fix, but by all boards and agencies working with the city and elected officials toward the goal of making New London affordable, it is most definitely possible!
With the state's ongoing budget crisis looming over the election, what are your plans for your community's budget? Is there anything you can do make your town less dependent on revenue from the state?
Getting a better handle on spending is the quickest and easiest way to reduce reliance on State revenue. When this is done in concert with economic development programs as outline above, we stand the best chance of being self reliant.
The legislature has been debating various ideas to allow towns to raise revenue locally through something other than property taxes. If you could ease your residents' property tax burden by adding another method of taxation, is there anything you might consider for your town?
I would support fees for service for non-profit entities. Currently they contribute little, if anything, to our tax base, yet some are very heavy users of city services. Charging fees for services such as police, fire, and public works would help ease the burden from taxpayers who are currently absorbing 100% of those costs.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
Yes! I would be in favor of police, fire, and education regionalization. We have already seen some crossover and sharing of services in public safety and it wouldn't be much of a stretch to continue the trend, particularly in an area with towns as small in area as ours. It helps alleviate understaffing issues in densly compact areas such as New London and geographic coverage issues in towns with larger land mass such as Waterford. Regarding the schools, we're seeing a smaller version of that already with the magnet school system in New London, and people seem to really love it. In an area such as ours, where schools of neighboring towns can often be so very close to one another, it makes for a very good argument on regionalization.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
I believe there should be a grace period to allow for the school district to bring its numbers back up before funding is cut. As we all know, it's far easier to cut than it is to put the money back in. The "excess" money during a lower enrollment period should be used for recruitment and program development.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I'm a huge music buff! It's rare you'll find me without music playing while I work or do just about anything else. Most of the genre's I prefer were popular before I was born.
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