Share this candidate profile:

Kirk Carr

Running for First Selectman

11 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status:


Age: 71

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Clinton

Current Job: Retired

Previous Job: Dow Jones Wall Street Journal - Advertising Services Director

Previous Job: Wall Sttreet Journal - Eastern Advertising Manager

Education: BBA - Texas Tech University

Why are you running for this office?
Like many in Clinton, I am dissatisfied with high taxes, stunted commercial and industrial development and unresponsive boards and commissions. The Plan of Conservation and Development has been in place for 2 years with no action taken to execute any of its objectives. Enrollment keeps going down while costs keep going up. Mill rates are uncompetitive pushing down home values that are most families single biggest investment. Imagination, vision, energy and executive experience are the ingredients that I am uniquely prepared to provide.
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)?
Uncompetitive tax rate. We must trim spending by restructuring, renegotiating, regionalizing and right-sizing. We must reverse the cycle of higher mill rates that depress property values and push up mill rates even higher. With a competitive mill rate we have a much better shot at competing for commercial and industrial development.
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?
State aid is not free. Clinton taxpayers pay roughly $18 million in State income taxes and the State derives similar amounts in sales tax from Clinton enterprises. We have a right to see a fair share of that money flow back to the Town and should fight for it. But we also must adjust to the current realities, fairly sharing the burden of cuts in State aid among government agencies and taxpayers. But so far 100% of that adjustment has been made by taxpayers. Rolling back all operating budgets to the fiscal 2013 budget as a starting point. Since 2013, The Town operating budget increased $1.8 million and the Education operating budget increased a similar amount while enrollment dropped 242 students or 12%. Instead of that increase in Education budgets, State MBR guidelines would have permitted cuts of $726,000 to reflect the drop in enrollment. Trimming $1.8 million from both the Town and Education operating budgets should be a goal and at least a starting point for restructure, renegotiation and right-sizing. If we start at no increase in spending we will never get to no increase in spending. We need a top-down rather than bottom-up budget process. We know from experience that a budget process that nickels and dimes line items always results in budget creep. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.
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?
Removing or adjusting the property tax exemption on boats could greatly help shoreline communities like Clinton. This would not be as regressive as other property taxes. It might be at a statewide mill rate to avoid boats moving to lower mill rate towns. Earmarking some share of local income taxes to local municipal aid would also provide a progressive source of funding. This could be scaled based on median household incomes in each town, allowing lower income towns to keep larger shares of locally derived income taxes .
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
Yes. We are already cooperating with neighboring towns with the dog pound and police services. We could consolidate emergency communications and dispatch for greater efficiency and regional coordination. We should examine regionalizing high schools as enrollment drops and makes supporting diverse educational curriculums unsustainable. We also must consolidate within Clinton across departments. We don't need and can't afford two payroll departments, a finance director and schools business manager, a Department of Public Works and a Schools Maintenance Department and two actuarial resources as examples.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
To be fair, State aid to Education must be honestly and transparently formulaic. It must never be used for political reward or retribution. Enrollment trends are one of the many factors that should determine how much State aid school districts receive. School districts with secular enrollment declines must learn to adjust and in many cases regionalize to improve both the quality and cost effectiveness of education.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
One of the many things that people don't know about me is that I restarted taking violin lessons 3 years ago after a 50 plus year hiatus. I recommend it to anyone who dropped music after graduating. We have a number of excellent music schools in the area including the Clinton Academy of Music run by Juilliard graduate Vanessa Pentz who caters to students of all ages and level of achievement.