'Continuing to move the town forward': Bass seeks third term as mayor of New Milford

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media

NEW MILFORD — Road improvements, completing construction on the library and new energy equipment for the schools are among the top priorities for Mayor Pete Bass, who formally announced his intention to seek a third term in November, on Saturday at the New Milford Green.

Bass, who is 59 and a Republican, was first elected mayor of New Milford in 2017 after he defeated former mayor David Gronbach, a Democrat. Bass was reelected for a second term in 2019 after defeating Democrat Tom O’Brien.

“I’m very humbled that the residents of New Milford have allowed me to serve two terms as mayor, and now looking forward to a third term,” Bass said Sunday.

Should Bass be reelected, one initiative he said he’s looking to fulfill is the town’s road improvement program.

“We’ve done over 42 miles of road improvements and by the end of this year, we’ll be up to 62 miles,” he said.

In July, lifelong New Milford resident Ted Hine announced he’ll be running against Bass on the Democratic ticket.

“It’s great that he’s finally officially announced,” Hine said. “Now it’s hometown boy who got educated both locally here in New Milford and Danbury and then off to corporate America, getting a lot of managerial experience — against Pete Bass.”

Additionally, Bass said he’s planning to complete construction on the New Milford Library, which he said should happen by the third week in January 2022.

Other projects that top Bass’ list is a new roof for Town Hall and New Milford High School. Both of those projects are scheduled to begin in October.

“They were to start in August but were delayed by material shortages,” Bass said.

The high school roof is about 22 years old and the Town Hall roof is about 20 years old, according to Bass.

He said there were some issues with the high school roof due to a microburst several years ago that caused some leakage, but added the roof was due to be replaced anyway.

“We wanted to do it the right way, which is put a standing seam roof on there,” he said.

In regard to the Town Hall roof, there is wear and tear around the corners, according to Bass. “We had the architect do a study that we definitely needed a new roof so we’re putting one on.”

Additionally, he said he’ll be making a formal announcement this week that, in partnership with the town’s Board of Education and the town’s energy program, the town will be undergoing a $15 million project for new energy equipment — “whether it be solar, whether it be new chillers and HVAC equipment” — for many of the town’s schools. “(It will be) mainly the high school, Sarah Noble School and a smaller footprint on Sarah Noble Intermediate School, Northville Elementary School, and Hill and Plain School,” he added.

The town will use its energy savings to pay for those capital items, so they’ll be no additional cost to the taxpayer, according to Bass.

He said the schools have been needing those improvements for many years “and we’re able to put in brand new energy efficient equipment, which takes it off of their capital plan. What’s great is the taxpayers don’t have to pay any additional funds because we’re going to use the same funds that we used to pay for our energy currently.”

Other planned projects for the town include continuing to work with the youth agency to provide a mental health clinic to young students.

“As we saw with COVID, with isolation and depression —that’s a major focus that we’re working on,” he said.

The town will also be offering a financial literacy course for residents.

Bass, who had no comment about Hine, said he’s very excited about having the opportunity “to continue what we’ve been doing in New Milford and continuing to move the town forward.”

sfox@milfordmirror.com