What do you feel have been successes in economic development for Plainville over the past two years—or what have been its failures? Explain.
Plainville has had one of the lowest cumulative tax increases in the state over the past six years, and has become an attractive place for business. After seven years of being vacant, the GE North building has been developed by U-Haul. They have put a lot of money into the improving the facility, and are planning to be here for many years to come. New businesses have come to the corporate park on Robert Jackson Way, while several existing businesses have expanded. New medical services have to come to town to support the new Hartford Healthcare Cancer Institute on the New Britain line. And, many of the previously vacant businesses downtown have new tenants. These businesses pay taxes to the town and create many jobs. To keep Plainville attractive, we must continue to be fiscally responsible and keep tax increases to a minimum. Not a failure, but more of a disappointment, I wish we could encourage development of the former Chung Buffet property.
There has been a lot of discussion over the past year about Connecticut’s current economic situation, and the proposed reductions in municipal aid. If elected, how would you ensure that taxpayers get the best bang for their buck, given the uncertainty in state revenue?
First and foremost, we must not panic or act in a hasty fashion. We should certainly be very cautious with any discretionary spending, but remain optimistic that cooler heads will eventually prevail in Hartford. Our state representative, Dr. William Petit, and our state senator, Henri Martin, fully understand the damage that will ensue in every city and town if they don’t find a solution to this extremely difficult problem. From a town perspective, we could be in a very difficult position if there are substantial reductions in our municipal aid. The primary concern is for our Education Cost Sharing grant. This grant brings us more than $10 million per year, and any notable reduction will be painful. Fortunately, we have a healthy rainy day fund, so we have options. If necessary, I would advocate that we use at least some of that money to prevent a tax increase. We will continue to look for efficiencies in our local government. I will continue to work hard to ensure Plainville remains affordable and fiscally solvent.
From infrastructure and park improvements to school building projects to closing the town’s gap in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, the town has pursued a variety of projects over the past two years. Do you feel that Plainville is a community of progress—or a community that remains stagnant when trying to move ahead? Explain your answer.
I strongly believe that Plainville is a community of progress! We constantly look for ways to run the town more efficiently, such as installing LED street lights, sharing staff and paying for building improvements with guaranteed energy savings. We’re one of only a handful of communities that have combined departments between the town and the BOE, and others are envious. We collaborate with neighboring communities to share equipment, provide mutual aid for fire and police, and regionalize services to save money. I believe we should work with our residents to find an acceptable way to close the gap in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. The Town Council has a dog park under consideration, a project that I will support. We have great town events, such as Wings and Wheels, PumpkinFest, and the Hot Air Balloon Festival. These events all raise money for great causes and showcase why Plainville is not only special, but also a great place to live and raise a family.