Here are some current issues that are on my radar, in alphabetical order.
Next year’s budget began in November 2022 and department heads have submitted their proposed budgets to the First Selectman on December 1st.
Next step happens February 15, where the First Selectman presents his draft budget to the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance for review.
It is an understatement to say that this year’s town budget will be an incredible challenge to develop in an environment where factors such as property valuations have drastically impacted residents and will surely impact taxes. I am very much interested in helping support a final budget proposal that serves to provide the services we all have come to expect at a cost that is reasonable to all of us. I pay taxes like anyone else and am concerned as anyone should be. I’m confident we’ll have a budget prepared that taxpayers will approve. It will be important to understand what Region 15 proposes, as that will surely impact the bottom line.
Community Resource Officer
With the recent addition of officers to the Southbury police force, our department is at near full capacity. As long as that remains the same, I see an opportunity to open discussion to learn what a Community Resource Officer brings in value to the people who live in our town.
A lack of communication has prompted a closer look at our new regional health department and understanding its impact to our town. This issue has received every bit of proper attention. Along with our First Selectman, Board of Selectmen, and other strong leaders in our town, I am proud to continue to hold HVHD accountable for their actions, ensuring they understand our position and expectations moving forward. This continues to be a fluid situation and developing issue that Southbury is looking to help lead to a stable and strong health department for our Town, which will benefit other member towns. More to come on this matter.
Parks & Open Space
A challenge to many regional towns with amazing public space to enjoy, we must continue to take an active role in combating issues of littering and working to manage overcrowding. This is on my plate to help tackle before the 2023 summer season. More to come on a very difficult situation for impacted residents and an issue that resonates with me.
Pierce Hollow Village
Pierce Hollow Village will be a senior subsidized housing development that, once built, would provide a much needed resource for our truly most vulnerable population. When it takes 4-5 years for someone to move through the wait list at Grace Meadows, it should be the sounding alarm that the Pierce Hollow project needs the support it deserves to bring this development to a reality.
A fresh look at our amazing police department and understanding how a departure from the Resident Trooper program would impact our town. With recommendations from the Resident Trooper and others, a task force has been formed to perform a feasibility study to determine if Southbury has the infrastructure and capacity to form it’s own independent police department. Should the task force move to recommend moving forward, a referendum would be set to have voting residents make the final decision.
I was part of the committee assembled to make sure Southbury starts 2023 with a new Director who will work hard to be the right person our Seniors will love in this position. Approved to start around the last week of January, we look forward to welcoming Andrea Bouchard!
An exciting time and opportunity to learn about the options we have moving forward regarding the future of the town pool at Ballantine park. A task force has been formed to bring proposals to referendum in this long standing issue. I believe the entire Board of Selectmen will be together on whatever comes out of the task force. I believe some people are working hard to make this an election year issue. The public needs to understand that this Board of Selectmen has worked hard to be on the same page with all issues and that the town pool is not something that has divided us in any measurable way that I can see. The task force will make its recommendations and the public will decide. That’s the proper way to do this and I support whatever decision comes of it.