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Stephen Devoto

Running for Planning & Zoning Commission

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Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 57

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Middletown

Current Job: Biologist

Previous Job:

Previous Job:

Education: Ph.D. Neuroscience, The Rockefeller University

Why are you running for this office?
I am running for re-election as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner because I want to see our city's vitality enhanced by smart and fair land use decisions that benefit all of the city. I love Middletown.
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)?
Many parcels of land are not developed in a manner that produces the most benefit to our city, either in tax revenue or in improvements to the quality of life. I would solve this in three ways. First, I would continue to scrutinize every application to make sure that it is consistent with our city's stated goals. Second, I would continue to actively seek and value input from residents as we make decisions on each application. Finally, I will continue to work on re-writing our city's zoning code to promote responsible and vibrant development that maximizes the benefit to our 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?
I would like to raise our local revenue and jobs by making our city even more vibrant and attractive as a place to visit and as a place to live.
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. I think the city and state need revenue to make themselves vibrant. I believe that taxation should be used as an incentive to promote the quality of life. For example, tolls and gasoline taxes reduce congestion and pollution.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
Yes! Middletown and its neighboring towns all benefit from the farmland that is often found on both sides of our municipal boundaries. There should be regional planning that protects farmland in all of the region. Middletown and its neighbors benefit from a robust regional transportation network that includes bicycle trails and buses.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
This is outside of the purview of Planning and Zoning, but I think education funding should be tied to the number and types of students that attend the schools. If the number of students falls, then the funding should follow.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I am a scientist.