Mayor David Gronbach: ‘I have more to give and I hope that you will let me’
Published 12:00 am, Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Some of my accomplishments in the past year include: Cutting wasteful spending in town hall, Young’s Field River Walk, the art gallery at the railroad station, Lynn Deming expansion, the Vietnam veterans memorial, Century Brass demolition, and the Pettibone Community Center. However, it is just as important to talk about the things I want to accomplish in a second term.
Pettibone Community Center: While the community space and Parks and Rec, Youth Agency and Social Services are close to completion, we want to move nonprofits like the culinary school, Robotics And Beyond and others into the building.
Financial responsibility: My administration has saved the town millions of dollars. My first year budget lowered taxes for the first time in recent memory and in two years we have had the lowest average tax increases in over a decade. I want to continue our fiscal management, challenging assumptions and wasteful spending. I will continue to develop revenue, like the sale of surplus properties, to ease the tax burden.
Sewer Commission reform: I spent significant effort addressing the $4.5 million debt owed to the town, the shortfalls in debt payments, the fees charged to new businesses discouraging development. I hope to work with the new leadership to generate new revenue by encouraging businesses to connect and brokering an agreement with Brookfield.
Roads: I have created a committee to take the politics out of road priorities. For the first time, we are using scientific data to help us plan for road improvements. Approximately $3 million has been financed for roads and bridges and I have allocated funds for design work necessary to rehabilitate Squire Hill and Long Mountain roads in the spring.
Library expansion: The library has sought to modernize its facilities and buildings for over 20 years. I have worked with the Modernization Committee to fund and develop a design to expand, doubling the space and adding parking. We will develop a funding plan in my next term.
Landfill settlement fund: The fund currently has over $11 million. We receive an additional $2.7 million each year until 2024. My administration began investing a portion of the fund so that the interest payments ensure its viability well past 2024.
Century Brass: The building was demolished this year. I am working with the EPA to remove the steel, working to move Public Works, and coordinating with current/new businesses to move them onto the site.
Substance abuse: At my suggestion, our Substance Abuse Council has collected data about school-age drug use that will be shared at a community forum. We are filing a lawsuit, with other towns, against pharmaceutical companies for the spread of opioids and the resulting epidemic. I will continue to work with the police and other groups to get resources they need to battle this epidemic.
Traffic isues: I am working to develop a plan for sidewalks, bus shelters and to address the bottleneck at Veterans Memorial Bridg, 202/ Elm Street and other areas.
Passenger rail: I am working with the state to restore passenger rail to New Milford to decrease traffic, alleviate commuting strains and open the job market for our residents.
Renewable energy/efficiency: We are exploring a hydroelectric plant at the town-owned Bleachery Dam that would provide electricity to the town, as well as solar projects at Pettibone and Century Brass.
Bike trail: We are working on Phase 2 to connect the River Walk with Sega Meadows and Brookfield. I hope to break ground on one of the routes next year.
Sports complex: I started discussions with various sports groups to develop a central town-owned complex for baseball/softball, soccer and other sport fields, including a community pool.
Economic development: We have created a business-friendly environment and have seen new businesses open in town. We are focusing on “good jobs,” not minimum-wage retail. As projects progress, our Grand List and recognition as a “destination” will continue to rise.
These are not a politician’s promises of what I want to do. These are projects I am actively working on now, but need a second term to complete.
I am running because for me, this is public service. My life is not simple. My wife is an education administrative judge and owns/manages the Bank Street Book Nook; I have three children ages 9, 11, and 12 involved in swim, basketball and Tae Kwon Do; I put my law career on hold when I took this job.
I am not running for re-election because being mayor is easy, or pays a lot of money or satisfies my ego. I am running because serving my community and effectuating positive change and reform has been the greatest privilege of my life. I have more to give and I hope that you will let me.
Please visit www.gronbachformayor.com.
New Milford Mayor David Gronbach, a Democrat, is running for re-election.