Daponte: Council has accomplished plenty in six months

Letter-to-the-EditorNEWTo the Editor:

I would like to keep your readers informed of the Town Council’s accomplishments in its first 6 months, which include:

  • Addressing the $5 million hole in last year’s budget.  Because of our work, so far, the town’s bond rating remains solid;
  • Passing a balanced and responsible budget which funds the town’s pension obligations and improves education;
  • Passing capital improvement and capital equipment budgets.  The capital improvement Budget includes funding for street paving, sidewalks, and the replacement of Bunnell High School’s roof;
  • Passing of the allocations of the Community Development Block Grant;
  • Thoroughly vetting the Stratford High School project by holding a public information session, bringing together the superintendent, architect, Board of Education, finance director, the council and the public. After vetting, this council passed all necessary project resolutions;
  • Appointments of numerous citizens to committees and commissions; and
  • Oversight of town spending and departments.

Currently, the near-term special projects the council is working on include:

  • Shakespeare Theater–  through the council’s Building Needs committee, there is a Shakespeare subcommittee that is actively working on re-establishing the theater;
  • Creating a Dog Park–  the project has been reverted back to the Parks & Recreation Committee so it can recommend potential locations;
  • Vetting the Center School project to determine whether the administration’s plans to replace both the Board of Education and (new) Center School buildings with a parking garage and 20% affordable housing represents the town’s long-term best interests; and
  • Continued prodding on the Stratford Army Engine Plant project.  This is the project that would be a game-changer for the town.

All on the council are concerned about the town’s long-term vitality.  Smart economic development, high quality education, a stable bond rating, and getting the Army Engine Plant revitalized, along with continued oversight will result in lower taxes and make all of the town’s districts more desirable.  I look forward to continuing our work.

Beth Daponte

Town Council chairman

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