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Catherine Lester Salchert

Running for Board of Finance

3 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 57

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Avon

Current Job: Attorney

Previous Job: Chubb Specialty Insurance

Previous Job: Municipal Attorney

Education: JD

Why are you running for this office?
I am running for the Board of Finance to represent the residents of Avon and make sure that their preferences are heard and taken into account when financial decisions are made. The Board of Finance has the final say on the budget that goes to the voters and I want to ensure that the budget reflect the goals and values expressed by the community.
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)?
A key challenge facing Avon and all local communities is how to continue providing needed services in the face of shrinking state revenues. Avon needs to find new ways to make Avon an attractive place to start or grow a business and a comprehensive plan for development to reduce the burden on residential property taxes.
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?
The Board of Finance can ensure that contracts for goods and services are competitively bid so we don’t find ourselves making purchases of, say, technology for the schools under long-term lease purchase agreements that have unfavorable financing. The Board can also partner with our neighboring communities to leverage purchasing power for goods and services.
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 am not in favor of new taxes or tax increases as a way of easing the local property tax burden. Rather, I would prefer to work with our state representatives to help prevent new burdens on communities (so-called unfunded mandates from the state) and to enable local communities to keep a greater percentage of existing fees that are collected for the state and remitted to the communities.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
Yes, I am in favor of partnering with nearby communities for services such as snow removal, grounds maintenance and other similar types of services that have easily identified performance standards and that make good economic sense to provide on a regional basis.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
Enrollment fluctuates in most communities so the amount of state funding a community receives doesn't depend solely on enrollment. The state should provide funding to cover the cost of state mandated services to the maximum extent possible. Avon has sound fiscal policies but that also should not preclude Avon from receiving education funding from the state.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I think my next career may be in stand-up comedy.