Renewing Pride in Clinton

As First Selectman, I will promote a positive vision and confidence in our town. For far too long, projects critical to Clinton’s financial well-being have stagnated. We need to send a signal to developers we are open for business. Updating zoning to increase density, with design standards in the under-developed areas on the East and West ends of Route 1, the Unilever site, and down­town, will allow for higher-and-better mixed-use opportunities. I also will pursue façade grants for the businesses along Route 1. These improvements will make our downtown more successful.

I will focus on the right kind of economic development in areas of existing infrastructure — creating good paying jobs; securing solutions to the old Morgan site, Unilever, and Stanley Bostitch; and bringing vibrancy to Downtown Clinton with projects that protect the character of our town. We need to move beyond just resolving our waste water issues to explore potential options for the Unilever site to facilitate growth and expansion into our downtown.

My team will create a marketing plan and use social media tools effectively. We will start by producing marketing materials of development opportunities, which can be easily distributed to developers. I will work with Clinton’s Economic Development Commission, CT Economic and Community Development, RiverCOG, and the Chamber of Commerce to come up with strategies to market Clinton’s natural and business resources as the Jewel of the Shoreline between New York and Boston.

Building Community

As First Selectman, I will focus on the issues that matter most — taxes, a sustainable economy, safe streets, our coastal environment, and improving the services we all deserve.

As a parent, I know our schools are the heart of our community. Great schools mean a positive future for Clinton and our families. Great schools also strengthen our property values by creating an attractive community where people want to live.

I will work with the Board of Education and Clinton Public Schools administration to find cost sharing opportunities. Working together, we will ensure our schools have adequate funding to continue to provide an excellent education environment for all children, regardless of race, orientation, origin, or socio-economic standing.

We need to do a better job helping seniors and others on fixed incomes. I will work proactively to make certain that seniors finally have access to affordable, centrally-located housing and increase the Senior Property Tax Relief Program and assistance they need to remain in their homes.

Currently Clinton has no control over where CT State statute (8-30g) affordable housing will be developed due to a lack of land use policies. We will create a plan for housing that is attractive, sustainable, and designed for families, our work force, senior citizens, and Clinton citizens who are employed but Asset Limited, Income Restrained (ALICE).

We need to make our streets safe for all users, vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. Kids need to be able to get to school safely – and everyone wants to reduce traffic congestion and keep our community active. Planning for infrastructure including sidewalks, bike lanes, and safe crossings within established areas of public transportation, commerce, municipal buildings, and schools spares the expense of retrofits later. I support a Complete Streets plan for Clinton.

Driving Economic Development

In the current economic climate we must do much more. We have to make choices for our capital expenditures, but be sensitive to how cuts affect our public safety, schools, or infrastructure. I will ensure fiscal responsibility with a thorough budget review process and a Town-wide, 10 year comprehensive capital plan.

One of my first actions as First Selectman will be to schedule meetings with all department heads to address the duplication of services within our town. To find efficiencies in the operating budget, I will convene monthly meetings with the Town finance heads and our Board of Education to identify ways that we can save money together.

We must seek out innovative partnerships with our neighboring towns to improve services and cut costs while talking about structural reforms and regionalization options. As a first step, I will create a committee for shared services and regionalization opportunities with surrounding towns.

It is also important to attract new business and indus­try that does not rely largely on the local population for its customer base. I will en­courage attractive, well-designed commercial activity in appropriate locations in order to provide convenient services for residents, diversify the tax base, and furnish employment opportunities in a way that is supportive and reflective of Clinton’s community character.

It is equally important to preserve existing busi­nesses through partnerships with the business community, and to address their needs to promote success. I will consider incentives and other forms of assistance, plus work to promote businesses in locations with existing infrastructure so as not to create a greater tax burden.

Our team also will work with the Economic Development Commission to create entrepreneurial and small business development strategies that enable businesses to grow. We will review “transparent” tax incentives for those prime properties within existing infrastructure and consider Assessment Deferral Programs for businesses looking to expand or build new. Tax incentives will be used strategically and only if they demonstrate a return on investment.

I support expanding responsibilities and resources for the Economic Development Commission to stimulate new economic development activity. A full-time Town Planner will balance the social, economic, and environmental needs of Clinton. They will shape the way we grow through strategic planning of zoning regulations based on our Town Plan of Conservation and Development.

Creating Openness & Transparency

I will always stand up for the values of our Town by building consensus. This will not be based on partisanship or special interests, but by representing all of our citizen’s voices, regardless of party.

It is important for Clinton’s government to be as open as possible. When people find government is listening with genuine interest, they become engaged. When a positive political environment encourages public participation in our electoral process, it creates a sense of ownership. When transparency is brought back to governing, people feel that their voice – and vote – matters.

We will do this through the use of social media, referenda, ballot questions, and/or surveys. We will work to increase public participation in town government and make sure that decision-makers on the boards and commissions of our town fully understand what the community wants.

I have served effectively in many leadership positions. I am an advocate of decision-making through consensus. We need a comprehensive effort of short-term and long-term strategies and the right leadership to deliver the goals.

Charter reform is key to Clinton’s future success. As First Selectman, I will promptly establish a new bipartisan Charter Revision Commission to look at town governance issues such as a stronger ethics code, financial checks and balances, and the role of a Town Manager. However the current three ballot questions on the Clinton Town Charter are fundamentally flawed. I urge you to Vote No now… for a better Yes later.

Preserving our History & Conserving the Natural Environment

We are the stewards of our history and public lands. I will preserve and protect Clinton’s historic character by working with local stakeholders and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to create a revolving loan fund for historic properties that contribute to community character and serve as catalysts for economic development. Our team also will utilize Technical Assistance Grants and Historic Buildings Financing Funds available to us.

In Clinton, critical infrastructure such as our Town Hall and Fire Department are barely above the existing sea level. This puts public and private investments and businesses at risk. Natural infrastructure, such as coastal wetlands, beaches and dunes, and river floodplains provide vital defenses against storms for people and property.

With support from State agencies it is possible to responsibly plan for our future resilience and decrease vulnerability. Hiring a full-time Town Planner and utilizing tools such as a Geographic Information System (GIS) can provide robust local planning data. A Coastal Resiliency Plan will address the risks posed by extreme weather and climate change and build upon the recently updated Clinton Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan. I will pursue grant funding opportunities to improve our ability to prepare for and recover from coastal inundation. Our team will work with State agencies and our Regional Planning Agency to create proactive community planning initiatives.

We must seek innovative policies to mitigate the impact of climate change. Clinton needs to find a balance between development and open space preservation and establish priorities for protection of these spaces for the health of our community, water quality, biodiversity, habitats, and quality of life.

Clinton is the first town in the state to adopt a sustainability resolution for energy consumption by 2030. We must investigate green energy tax incentives for businesses. I will work with the Energy Committee and department heads to reduce our energy costs, and find energy saving solutions for our municipal buildings, businesses, and residents, while creating jobs associated with these initiatives.

As First Selectman, I will support the establishment of a Clinton Greenway per goals of our Town Plan of Conservation and Development and priorities set out in the CT State Plan. Our team also will work to create a network of trails that connect existing open space and possible future connecting land plus blueway corridors along bodies of water. This approach to conservation will provide access to the outdoors today and encourage a healthy environment for generations to come.