CHATwith...Don Lowe

SHERMAN — With just days to go until he takes office, incoming First Selectman Don Lowe has been hard at work readying himself for the role and developing a list of top priorities.

In a recent interview with Hearst Connecticut Media, Lowe outlined what he would like to see happen in the town of about 3,500 residents. On his first day, Jan. 2, he will start developing plans to bring sodium levels down in town well water, begin making needed improvements to the Emergency Services Facility and ensure the town is more business-friendly, he said.

Lowe, a Democrat, was elected first selectman Nov. 7, beating incumbent Republican Clay Cope. Cope had served six years in the office, and Lowe had been a selectman for six years — two of them under Cope.

Lowe said he hopes to host a “symposium” of sorts for residents to learn about the natural gas power plant, the Cricket Valley Energy Center, being built in nearby Dover, N.Y. Many Sherman residents, after learning of the plant in the fall, opposed it, citing air-quality concerns.

“I want to actively provide Cricket Valley information,” Lowe said. “So residents can feel educated on this.”

Another environmental issue, sodium levels in town water, is a “day one” priority, Lowe added. It’s not only a health concern, he said, but it is potentially corroding pipes in town buildings. He hopes to “accelerate remediation,” he said.

He said another concern is managing the town budget after harsh cuts in state aid. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s recent “holdbacks” cut nearly $800,000 worth of grants for three years of roadwork in town.

“It was firm for us, and now it’s not firm,” he said. “There is an immediate concern, we were paving Wakeman [Hill] Road, and that is on hold now.”

Recent controversy on the Candlewood Lake Authority is also a concern, he said.

“I’d like to see Candlewood Lake Authority be able to function in a more orderly and proper fashion,” he said. “There are three delegates on that board that seem to be acting counter to the objectives of the Candlewood Lake Authority, and that troubles me. But our business community and the property values are intrinsically tied to the health of the lake ... I was happy, along with the rest of the delegates that voted for her, that Phyllis Schaer was renamed chairman.”

To help businesses in town, Lowe said he plans to erect road signs. He also said the town green would soon see new business and more private investment. He said it was too early to give specifics.

Making the town more senior friendly is also something Lowe pledged to look into.

“I believe 24 percent of our population is 65 or older and I’m interested in serving them better,” he said. “I’m open to looking at senior housing options.”

Lowe, whose bankruptcy filing six weeks before November’s election was not publicly known until after he had won, has received support from some town residents who have argued his personal finances should have no impact on his ability to manage Sherman’s $14.7 million town and school budget.

After the campaign, which was at times divisive, Lowe said he hopes to bring residents together. Many appointed volunteers to boards and commissions have been re-appointed, he said, and he has already given outgoing Cope a gift for his six years of service.

“I’m hoping that will become a tradition in Sherman, that the incoming first selectman would give a gift to the outgoing one,” Lowe said.

blytton@hearstmediact.com; 203-731-3411; @bglytton