Friday, May 24, 2024

Candidate’s Questionnaire

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Candidate’s Questionnaire

This week’s Question: Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we can grow revenues rather than cutting services?
Some candidates chose not to respond at all to the final section of the candidate questionnaire, or responded only to subjects that directly concern the office for which they are running.

The Stratford Crier Editorial Staff

Town Council Candidates

Gavin Forrester
Republican
Town Council, District 2

Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we can grow revenues rather than cutting services?

The best way to grow revenue is by working with our State and Federal Legislative partners to grow Stratford’s commercial tax base by providing incentives where possible and seeing to completion the Army Engine site clean-up and restoration to a growing and vibrant economic community.

This excerpt below is taken from Democratic State Representative Joseph Gresko’s Connecticut House Democrats page which outlines the results achieved so far and I would continue to follow them to improve Stratford as a community.

“State Report: Stratford’s Economic Strength Improved Compared to Other Municipalities”
State Representative Joseph Gresko, October 13, 2022

Stratford’s economic and fiscal strength have improved in recent years and the town is no longer listed as distressed, according to the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

The state annually tracks towns and cities in areas including population growth, per capita income, change in tax base, and age of housing stock, and then uses the information to rank the municipalities’ need for state funding on a list of 25
Distressed Municipalities. Stratford’s town government, residents and businesses together have shown such improvements compared to other towns and cities that, after two years on the list, Stratford is no longer on it in 2022.

Stratford improved its ranking in a variety of factors measured by the state. In particular, Per Capita Income increased by 2.6% between 2019 and 2020, the population has grown by almost 1,000 people over the past decade, and the percentage of residents living below the Poverty level dropped to 7.3%.

The strength of Stratford’s economy is indicated also by the Grand List, which is the value of all taxable property – residential and commercial. Here, the state sees that Stratford’s Grand List in 2021 surpassed $5 billion for the first time, which reflects growth of 3.3% compared to 2020 and 5% compared to 2019.

In some areas of the state’s measurement Stratford’s numbers were little changed, according to the state. Even in these areas, Stratford’s ranking may have improved relative to other towns where numbers declined.

Alvin O’Neal
Democrat
Town Council, District 3

Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we can grow revenues rather than cutting services?

By creating new economic development opportunities, which will help to increase our town’s revenue and tax base.

Rafael Irizarry
Republican
Town Council, District 5

Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we can grow revenues rather than cutting services?

We need more business quickly.

Phil Young
Democrat
Town Council, District 6

Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we can grow revenues rather than cutting services?

I think this has been covered.

Kaitlyn Shake
Democrat
Town Council, District 7

Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we can grow revenues rather than cutting services?

We must find efficiencies in Town Hall while continuing to grow the grand list. By investing in our schools, surrounding property values increase. By supporting Town Employees and assessing their needs, we can modernize how we serve the community in a way that does more with less. It’s time to envision a Stratford of the future that benefits our taxpayers and businesses, and addresses those with limited economic means.

Jean Marie Sutton
Republican
Town Council, District 7

Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we
can grow revenues rather than cutting services?

While there are many factors in the State’s evaluation of communities, our fiscal and economic ratings have improved dramatically in the past few years. Thanks to a strong leadership in our mayor’s office, administration, and council, Stratford was removed from the list of Distressed Community in 2022. Our Grand list has grown to surpass $5 billion since the rating. By continuing the forward momentum of the current administration, we will continue to see growth in our economy. Supporting local businesses, both large and small, is the key to our economic status and vitality.

Carl Glad
Republican
Town Council, District 8

Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we can grow revenues rather than cutting services?

Stratford was last on the Distressed Municipality list in 2021. We continue to see new businesses make our community home. Moving forward we need to continue to encourage businesses to move to Stratford, but we also must proactively assess our services, programs, and spending. Over the last three years, Stratford has seen hundreds of businesses opened in Stratford. This is a great source of revenue for our community and helps to keep our mill rate under control. It is important we continue to build on that economic base and keep an eye toward the future of manufacturing, consumer demand and technological advances. I will work with the Mayor and her economic team to build on current successes. I will also encourage our economic team to present a thoughtful, coordinated, and sustainable economic development plan so that Stratford can meet those future needs and demands. It is imperative we build lasting sustainable progress across all of Stratford. Additionally, I will work with the Mayor and her administration to evaluate our current services and programs. We need to make sure that existing services meet the needs of our community. If they don’t, we should not fund them. Together, a thoughtful, coordinated, and sustainable economic development combined with fiscal responsibility and good governance will allow our community to grow.

Town Council Candidates not responding: Bryan O’Connor, Republican, District 1; Rachel Rusnek, Democrat, District 1; Christopher Green, Democrat, District 2; Joe Bertone, Republican, District 3; Ed Scinto, Republican, District 4; Rene Gibson, Democrat, District 4; Anthony Owusu-Afriyie, Democrat, District 5; Kerry Whitham, Republican, District 6; Alan Llewelyn, Republican, District 9; Mark Juliano, Democrat, District 9; Paul Aurelia, Republican, District 10; Kathleen Callahan, Democrat, District 10.

Land Planning

Paula Sweeley
Democrat
Zoning, Zone 1

Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we can grow revenues rather than cutting services?

Make Stratford attractive to responsible and enduring businesses. I am not a business or financial expert, and do not have advanced knowledge in these areas.

Christopher Silhavey
Republican
Zoning Board of Appeals, District 4

Stratford was recently listed as a distressed community. How do you think we
can grow revenues rather than cutting services?

The recent news that Stratford is no longer on the distressed municipalities list is momentous indeed. It is a validation of the work that is being done to bring in diverse new businesses to town and grow our grand list to more than $5 Billion for the first time. As a Zoning Commissioner, I am proud to have had a role in Stratford’s economic development as I supported applications for projects in manufacturing, retail and logistics among others. Stratford is well positioned due the sound stewardship of the Mayor, the current Council and all involved in the economic development of our town.

Note: This question was outside of the scope of candidates running for Board of Education and Land Planning. That said, Paula Sweeley (Democrat) and Christopher Silhavey (Republiican) shared their thoughts with the Stratford Crier.

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