I am running for office because I believe that Norwich can be a stronger community and that its leadership should put people before politics. I believe that the current city council lacks vision and the will to bring all stakeholders together in a collaborative approach to serving the city's 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 perception of a lack-luster K-8 school system, partly deserved and partly not, is reducing the livability in the community. This is preventing new families from choosing home ownership in Norwich. I believe that working with the BOE to strengthen our school system and returning it to prominence in eastern CT will be the kick-start to the economic engine of the city.
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?
Unfortunately, state aid to cities and towns is deeply entrenched in the fiscal part of local government. In order for a city like Norwich to reduce its dependency on state aid, we will need to curtail future bonding, maintain healthy cash reserves, and seize upon opportunities to contain costs through shared services/staff between city departments. However, increasing revenue through net-positive economic development will be the key to this city's self-sufficiency.
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?
Frankly, additional taxation ultimately gets passed on to consumers. I favor a more balanced approach to existing taxation and a revised algorithm for the distribution of ECS funding. Although it is a minor topic in our municipal race, I believe that the idea of tolls should be debated at the state level, increasing revenue to improve infrastructure statewide and thereby promoting economic development at the local level.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
I am in favor of regionalizing of some services,. However, our high school is already a regional service provider and our utility company serves the communities adjacent to the city. Our long-term plan for a major upgrade to our sewer treatment facility would best be accomplished as a regional sewer project due to the cost. The part of regionalization that needs to be worked out is the shared costs for shared service.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
I do not believe that ECS funding should be based solely on enrollment. This issue connects back to the ECS formula itself. Until we have a statewide per pupil expenditure that correlates with the CT educational standards and student attainment of those standards, we cannot effectively measure which communities need more funding than others, regardless of enrollment.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
My favorite U.S. President was a Republican (Abraham Lincoln)
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