In August, We the People of Fairfield (WTP) invited the first selectmen candidates to an open debate on October 4th at the . Hugh Dolan the independent candidate accepted, however, the campaign managers for Rob Bellitto and declined saying that they would only debate in front of bi-partisan groups like the or the Rotary Club. As of today, WTP has not been notified of a scheduled debate date.
Here we are with only a month until we have to elect a First Selectman and other than posted signs along our roadways and endorsements in the editorial section there is little knows about where these candidates stand on the issues of importance to the residents of Fairfield. Remember the only Charter revision Ken Flatto made during his tenure was to increase the term of First Selectmen from two to four years, so now is the time to find out in what direction each of these candidates expect to take the town.
WTP has framed several specific questions for our candidates based on the issues our supporters feel are most pressing. We have asked the candidates to respond in writing in a week’s time.
The questions are as follows:
- Pension Costs: If Binding Arbitration on the towns Police and Fire contracts is not decided in the town's favor, what other avenues would you as First Selectman pursue to reduce the towns escalating and unsustainable pension costs? As First Selectman would you enact a Town Charter revision requiring elected taxpayer representatives (not appointees) to be at the bargaining table for union contracts? Are there any other Charter revisions you are considering and if so what are they?
- Bonding: During the last 10 years, the Town of Fairfield has bonded everything from road repair, technology infrastructure, softball field, new schools and school renovations. WTP feel that the time has come to cut back on bonding. The residents of Greenwich have a "pay as you go" philosophy on capital projects and as a result their residential taxes are lower than Fairfield. What restrictions on future bonding will you put into place that will reduce or put a cap on the towns current Debt Service of $ 24 Million per year?
- Education: WTP supporters believe we now have a Superintendent who understands the need to balance the cost of providing a quality education for our students with our ability, as residents, to afford that education. We also understand the need for the First Selectman and the Superintendent to work out an education budget that contains changes/trade offs/efficiencies that improve education not destroy it. What specific ideas have you discussed with Dr Title that would maintain the outstanding education Fairfield provides while maintaining spending levels from last year?
- : As First Selectman what specific plans do you have to get Black Rock Realty/Kurt Wittek or the bank holding his property to "honor" his obligation to the town despite the fact that his default no longer requires him to do this contractually? What plan do you have to attract commercial development to the Metro Center area of town? As First Selectman what action can you take to create a revenue stream from the Metro Center and in what year would you expect those revenues to begin? If you are elected First Selectman would you retain Richard Saxl as Town Attorney OR would you appoint someone else, if so who?
Submitted on behalf of the supporters of We the People of Fairfield,
Kate Daniello, co-founder