The Roundup sent questionnaires to every candidate for this year’s municipal election. In an effort to properly inform voters, their answers are unedited. The goal is to give the candidates the opportunity to offer their thoughts on issues directly to their constitutes. In return, it gives voters the opportunity to formulate their own decisions on what they have to say.
What are your most pressing issues?
The most pressing issue facing Bristol is the state of Connecticut budget. Bristol has their fiscal house in order, tax bills were sent out based on the best information possible at adoption of the budget. Now, 90 days into the new fiscal year, the state has backed many cities into a financial crisis. Recently, Hartford was downgraded to junk bond status. Fortunately, due to prudent fiscal budgeting, management and foresight – Bristol can weather the storm for now.
How do you feel about Bristol’s marketing efforts, what would you suggest?
Bristol has taken great strides to revamp its marketing. It is important to recognize that the marketing plans are currently focused to attract commercial growth – therefore aspects that a resident may feel is important, may not be highlighted to a business. People follow jobs; so when we are successful commercially, home values will benefit.
How do your thoughts and ideas differ from your opponent(s)?
Obviously, I am a fiscal conservative. In order to appropriate funds, I believe in accountability and what benefit it will have for the tax payers and future growth (payback). I worry that some running for office have a tax and spend mentality.
What are your thoughts on Bristol Hospital purchasing a portion of the former mall site? Will it help revitalize downtown?
Far too long this property has been vacant. Far too long – we dabbled with a developer that won exclusivity but could not deliver on their promises. We now have a bone fide developer who will build on the first lot of downtown and then lease to the Bristol Hospital, creating taxable property!
What is your position on moving City Hall?
Every year the building committee presents a list of infrastructure improvements needed for City Buildings. While some improvements to City Hall were included, it was nothing to this magnitude. It almost seemed like we were expanding the list to try to find a solution to the MBS issue of the cultural arts center not being self-sustaining. But to move Ctiy Hall to MBS just for this reason and put a square peg in a round hole is reacting – not planning. Let’s be practical, these repairs could be stretched over a period of 20 years. I prefer City Hall to stay downtown, however; I would like to see the numbers from 10 Main Street and financially model the options before we make any further decisions.
Will you support a tax increase if it’s the last resort?
I have before, and I will again if absolutely necessary. But, that said – other avenues should be exhausted first. Let’s grow that grand list!
What is your stance on crime in Bristol?
Overall, the statistics support that crime in Bristol is on the decrease. I believe we have the right police leadership in place and our force is well trained and accredited. The big battle is to combat the drug trade which is further entrapping those with addiction – ultimately leading to more crime with petty thefts. Finding adequate solutions to help those with addictions, coupled with increased citizen watch partnerships can make our neighborhoods safer.
Is social media helping or hurting Bristol at the moment?
Nothing is better than meeting and spending time with people face to face. While social media makes sharing faster and easier; it also makes it impersonal. If we really want to be great – we need to come out from behind our screens, meet each other break down social barriers.