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Robert Phoenix

Running for Councilman

1 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 66

Marital Status: M

Current Residence: Norwich

Current Job: Retired

Previous Job: Building Official

Previous Job:

Education: High School +3

Why are you running for this office?
I have adopted Norwich as my home. It hasn't taken a great deal of effort to realize how great Norwich was. After being here for only two years and meeting people who feel the same way about Norwich, I feel that I can help to make a positive impact toward restoring the vitality and importance Norwich has to potential of being again.
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)?
Issues that undermine the revitalization of Norwich are the cost of running the business of the City and the perception that education is less than prime. Those factors are giving business and families apprehension from relocating here. If elected to the City Council, I will work with the City Manager's office and the Mayor (the Economic director for the city) to develop a more friendly business atmosphere and I will work closely with the School Board for a plan that improves the educational opportunities for all the citizens in Norwich, from Kindergarten through Adult and continuing Education.
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?
I feel it is incumbent on towns to realize their need to be independent of State funding to the greatest extent possible. The autonomy of the City will provide less dependence on State funding and allow great flexibility to provide for its citizens. However, conversely, the City should not be made to support programs that the State has mandated, yet provided no funding for, or share the cost of servicing exclusive State regulated areas, such as bearing the cost of maintenance of state highways and drainage facilities. IE: Street sweeping, storm drain cleaning, traffic light maintenance, are cost that are passed along to the City on State Roads.
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?
Yes, the State should allow the City to implement a minor increase of certain local taxes, especially with regard to transient consumable goods and services. An added point one five percent on local motel bed taxes and on foods "to go" from restaurants would be a good start. a tax equal to a lot less than the current sales tax for services and non life necessity deliverable goods would be another source of increased revenue.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
There are many good and bad points of discussion with regionalized services. I think that there needs to be a strong case study done to see what services are currently duplicated by nearby communities and if shared services would benefit both participants. There is a definite need to remove the emotional factor in making decisions of shared services, in favor of what is best for the community as a whole.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
Before an answer can be given, facts must be reviewed. Primarily, if enrollment is dropping, there must be a reason. If enrolment is on the decline because of charter schools, the answer would be no, because it is still the responsibility of the district to support the cost of charter school. However, if enrollment is declining because of population, then following a "cost per student" model would apply.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I am a first generation immigrant to America. I was born in England and became a naturalized citizen in 1976, our Bicentennial year and I love dogs.