Beth Falder, Republican*

Age: 45.

Spouse: Michael.

Children: Alison, 18, Nicholas, 16, and Sarah, 13.

Occupation: Corporate director for quality metrics for two and a half years.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: 14 years.

Education: Graduated from Vandalia-Butler High School in Ohio, the University of Phoenix with a B.S. in management and Southern New Hampshire University with a M.B.A.

Past and present political and community experience: Member of the New Milford Board of Finance and the YMCA Mako Swim Team Parent Committee and a National USA Swimming Administrative official. Former member of the New Milford Town Council, the Ad Hoc Recycling Committee, the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce, the New Milford Recreation Association board, the Rotary Club of New Milford and the Ad Hoc Committee for Cost Efficiency and Savings.

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

State of Connecticut budget crisis: The state budget crisis will continue to have downstream impacts on our local economy. We have to remain diligent in our oversight of the town’s accounts to ensure we are using budgeted resources as intended. Additionally, we must question spending at all levels during the budget process to control cost.

Stagnant Grand List growth: New Milford’s Grand List, like many towns across Connecticut, has not seen growth in a number of years. Unfortunately our town’s fixed cost expenses, such as utilities and pensions, continue to increase. We must look to other areas to reduce and contain spending, so that we maintain or reduce the current mil rate and not increase taxes.

Balancing needs of the community with the available resources: Our community is at the heart of everything we do, and we as elected officials need to be mindful of the wants and needs of our entire population. But we must be careful to balance those wants and needs with the ability of our town to fund the costs. Board of Finance oversight is critical to the process, and I am honored to have served on the committee and actively participate in this process. I would like to see oversight of the Waste Management Fund returned to the Board of Finance, to ensure the proper checks and balances are in place.

Andy Grossman, Democrat

Age: 61.

Spouse: Sherry Chiger.

Children: Chloe, 18.

Occupation: Writer/editor for 31 years.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: Seven and a half years.

Education: Graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. degree and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a M.S.J. degree.

Past and present political and community experience: Member of the New Milford Economic Development Commission and secretary for the Historic Properties Commission.

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

Accountability: Board of Finance members are accountable to the voters, not to their political parties, for their performance in office. Independence is essential. If elected, I will resign from the Democratic Town Committee. Over the last couple of years, Republicans have voted as a bloc while Democrats have shown commendable independence in their budget-making decisions.

Heed the audit: It is outrageous that the town has never married audit data to the budgeting process. This is an ideal way to keep our budgets as lean as possible and taxes down. Decisions on spending should not be tied to what a department was allocated the previous year; rather, the Board of Finance must examine what departments actually spent.

Fiscal responsibility/credit rating: The Board of Finance has a responsibility to ensure the council’s budget will maintain our excellent credit rating. Board members must balance the need to invest in the town — repairing our roads and providing incentives for economic development — with maintaining a firm hand on spending. In the last two years, Board of Finance members have abrogated their responsibilities by making inadvisable changes to the budget after sitting through the council’s two-week process without providing adequate — or any input — into budget priorities.

Trevor Herbest, Republican*

Age: 39.

Spouse: Jacqueline.

Children: Jaden,15, and London, 7.

Occupation: Owner/corporate officer in private energy and commodity firms for 10 years.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: 37.

Education: Graduated from New Milford High School and attended Western Connecticut State University.

Past and present political and community experience: Member of the New Milford Republican Town Committee and an alternate on the New Milford Board of Finance. Former full member of the New Milford Board of Finance.

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

Needs vs. wants: We are all faced to make tough decisions in our homes — so should our leaders regarding our town and our tax dollars. I think it is simple. This town and its leaders are in a position where the focus is required on the needs vs. the wants, and they truly need to understand the definition.

Fiscal responsibility: Collectively approach issues head on to provide a solution opposed to continually allowing it to snowball, and having to become reactionary rather than being proactive. Issues should not continually flow through the terms until they become too heavy and the only way out is to raise taxes.

Full charter review and transparency: I have been witness to many questions of hierarchy and authorization of the hired and elected officials with regards to the allocation of funds and/or decisions being made. I would like to see a full review and adherence to the process and procedures within the current ordinances, and allow the elected officials and groups to make the decisions they were hired or elected to do.

Korey Linder, Democrat

Age: 32.

Spouse: Andrea.

Occupation: Owner of Touch of Color Painting for one year.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: Three years.

Education: Graduated from the University of Scranton with a B.S. in economics.

Past and present political and community experience: Involved in the Democratic Town Committee.

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

Continue to grow New Milford using existing tax revenue: As our mayor has shown, taking simple common sense steps we can increase our town’s revenue without increasing taxes. Moving the Waste Management Fund to an interest barring account was just the start.

Make sure all proposals before the Board of Finance are following our town’s charter and are in the best interest of the town and people of New Milford: There have been criticisms in the past that individuals have not followed procedure. I will take a firm stance on making sure we follow our charter to benefit the people of our great town.

Walter O’Connor, Republican*

Age: 70.

Spouse: Sharon.

Occupation: Retired registered nurse, having worked for 40 years.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: 24 years.

Education: Graduated from Blessed Sacrament High School in New Rochelle, N.Y., and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury with bachelor and master degrees.

Past and present political and community experience: Member of the New Milford Board of Finance and of the New Milford Hospital and Foundation Pension Committee. Served on the New Milford Hospital Federation of Nurses Union as an officer for 20 years. Former member of the Investment Committee for 15 years.

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

Trust: Open and accurate reporting of the town’s financial transactions.

Process: Oversight of the town’s financial transaction to assure that the town is following the charter and state regulations.

Jeff Winter, Democrat

Age: 56.

Spouse: Debbie Winter.

Children: Daniel, 22, Hannah, 20, and Maddie, 17.

Occupation: Union Savings Bank for three years.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: 18 years.

Education: Graduated from Highland Park Senior High School in St. Paul, Minn., attended Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. (majors in marketing and history, and minor in English composition).

Past and present political and community experience: Member of the New Milford Board of Assessment Appeals and the New Milford Pension Committee, and former member of the New Milford Economic Development Commission (2005-11), served as vice chairman from 2007-11, and the EDC Sub Committee to create Economic Development Corporation. Former coach for boys’ and girls’ New Milford Youth Basketball Organization (2007-13) and New Milford Youth Baseball (2005-09), team manager for the Soccer Club of New Milford (2007-08), and former coach for Park and Rec Youth Basketball (2006) and Park and Rec Youth Soccer (2003-05).

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

Ensure roads and other infrastructure projects are properly funded to encourage economic development: Long term neglect of New Milford’s infrastructure requires a long-term plan. A true commitment to residential and commercial roads benefits citizens through lower taxes, fewer car repairs, and helps attract economic development. The Board of Finance must help determine the best mix of current and long term expenditures. The longer we wait, the costs skyrocket.

Utilize spending data from audit to develop optimal budgets: Next to the budget, the Board of Finance’s most important duty is the annual audit. Synthesizing audit data with budget planning will create efficiencies — and lower taxes — in the short and long run. During 12 years of paying close attention to the budget process, I have never seen audit spending data used for budget development by the Board of Finance or Town Council. Comparing one budget to another is not planning: comparing actual spending to what was budgeted enhances budget planning.

Maintain AA+ credit rating: Under Mayor Gronbach's leadership, New Milford attained the second highest credit rating from S&P (AA+). He also grew the Waste Management Fund by placing it in an interest bearing account (previously earned $0). The Board of Finance must help track important funds to ensure each has adequate balances, especially pensions and sewer debt.

*Signifies candidate is incumbent.