Volunteer public service. Connecticut and Stamford residents need to have some elected officials who believe their job is to protect residents from enthusiastic elected and appointed official instead of those who believe their job is to protect the City from our residents.
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)?
The most pressing local issue is the rate of the continuing increase in property taxes under the current administration. The approach I have taken to this problem is to try and establish some kind of discipline when it comes to spending tax payers' money. Actually asking questions about costs, benefits to residents, and the City's intent to enforce. It makes no sense to spend money stuff like the confusing bicycle signs painted all around town, on leaf removal ordinances we have no intention of enforcing (are their leaves in your street), or on a breeding permit program that hasn't issue a single license. David Martin's solution, for the last 35 years, has been to support increased development by relaxing the rules on developers. That has resulted in quality of life issues for residents who need to use the City streets during our daily lives. Yes David has made a few hard choices recently but only after the thousands of votes he cast on the Boards to get us into the financial mess we are in today.
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?
For the most the City needs to do its business and take care of what we can control. There is plenty of fat in the system that can be exercised away if we have a leader willing to take it on and then we have huge contingencies in the budget and a significant rainy day fund for those items that cannot be handled within the surplus. Mayor Martin boasts of the annual surpluses his administration has realized. Yes they have been the result of bloated budgets but we know them, why not plan to use them to cover any state shortfalls?.
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?
No. I do see an awful lot of Florida, New York, and Vermont plates on motor vehicles parked in Stamford driveways that I know have been in the state more than the 60 days allowed by state statute. I don't know that collecting the revenue associated with cars illegally registered out of state would make a huge dent. I do know that we have passed too many laws that we have no intention of enforcing. The excuse provided is that these laws give our law enforcement officers "another tool" with which to do their jobs. The reality is these seldom used "tools" are subject to abuse because of their limited use and review. These tools have led to a general compliance malaise among our residents; why follow the law if there is no intent to enforce?
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
It would depend on what is being considered. I do not have any specific suggestions.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
No. If the district's enrollment is dropping it either means there are fewer resident students which should result in lower expenses or it means residents are opting to use private education resources because they believe the quality of education is better or their children's safety is in jeopardy. As a parent I understand a parent's who puts their own child's welfare, safety, and financial security before their own.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I decorate a great cake.
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