Where Do We Go From Here?

The Republican focus over the last two years has been to promote and implement sound financial practices, to promote excellence in education, to promote a high quality of life for all citizens, and to promote tax relief strategies.  So, the question is, “Where do we go from here?” 

Residential Tax Relief

The call for residential tax relief remains an ever-growing issue.  While we continue our diligence in monitoring our operating expenses and economizing as much as possible, we need to enhance our focus on personal property tax relief for homeowners.  We have started and need to continue investing in our infrastructure in order to attract commercial businesses to Newtown.  One such example is our continued commitment to the revitalization of Sandy Hook Center.  This example serves as a model as to what we view as important and needs to be expanded into our other hamlets and villages such as Hawleyville.  Complementing this effort is the expansion of sewers currently underway in the exit 9 area of Hawleyville. This type of investment is critical to provide fertile ground for commercial expansion and will pave the way to development in this area. We are committed to sensible commercial development and facilitating its growth in the appropriate areas in order to bring better balance between commercial and residential taxes.

Newtown’s Changing Demographics

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the changing demographics in Town.  Seniors are the fastest growing demographic and they represent one third of Newtown. Going forward we believe all resident needs must be addressed including looking into senior tax relief and other amenities to include a new senior center.

Declining School Enrollment

We believe we need to have a public dialog and generate a consensus regarding a path forward in addressing declining school enrollment.  All boards and commissions and the public must come together in a collaborative effort to map out the steps that can be taken, planning for the cyclical nature of enrollment, while being careful not to overreact. 

School Security

Security in our schools will continue to be an issue moving forward.  During last year’s budget deliberations, we collectively had the foresight to provide the financial resources for security personnel in light of the uncertainty of state and federal support.  Planning for the uncertainty has proved prudent as money placed in the town’s contingency fund was utilized to address the security needs of the district.  Moving forward, we believe security remains a top priority and will need to be continually evaluated and provide for.

Superintendent Search

Currently, the search for a new superintendent remains high on the “to do” list for the Board of Education.   Many focus groups have been held to include students, parents, PTA members, school administration and elected officials in the conversation.  We believe the focus now needs to shift to taking that feedback and utilizing it to find an exception leader and communicator of the district with excellent superintendent skills.

School Budget Development

We believe the Board of Education needs to continue to promote excellence in the educational programs and curriculum so that all students can reach their highest potential.  Changes in the budget compilation, such as providing more detailed information and transparency is critical.  Collectively, we have recommended a different approach in making an annual commitment to technology and building improvements that needs to continue.  We also believe that implementing the current municipal process in funding capital projects in a “Pay as You Go” manner is critical in moving forward and will help to lesson the budgetary impact on taxpayers.  We must expand upon the successes we have experienced in combining municipal and school administration services by looking at additional opportunities to combine services that will ease the burden on taxpayers. 

Charter Revision

Finally, as the town changes year over year, we need to change with it by addressing additional Charter changes.  Many inconsistencies remain and a full Charter review needs to be undertaken to clarify the language as well as legal inconsistencies. 

What do Republicans Think?

We Republicans remain committed to making it “Nicer in Newtown”.  We believe we have the right plan and the right message.  We would like to continue with our plans so that all Newtown residents enjoy a high quality of life and have the ability to prosper.  Please support your Republican team on November 5th.