GOP candidates laud accomplishments

NEW MILFORD - In the last two years, the Republicans who are the majority party in town government say they made great strides for taxpayers with bipartisan cooperation.

They want to do more.


Under the leadership of Republican Mayor Patricia Murphy , the town council , board of finance, board of education and land-use board candidates say they want to better position the town for economic development. They hope the burden of taxes will fall less on property owners so the town can afford more needed services.

A proposed $12.5 million library expansion, a $4.1 million ambulance facility, a $25 million sewer expansion and other community upgrades, including the possible relocation of the
cramped public works department , are all on the drawing board.

In addition, the elected land-use boards, the planning commission, the zoning commission and the zoning board of appeals are seeing more proposals for commercial and residential growth and want to be sure that development occurs in a way that respects the town's rural roots.

"We have a lot coming up," said Town Council Vice Chairman Ray O'Brien.

At the Republicans' first press conference Monday, O'Brien cited the library expansion, the ambulance facility and sewer expansion as imperative projects for the welfare of the town. Council member Roger Szendy noted the need for a public works upgrade.

Council member and Republican Town Committee Chairman Pete Bass highlighted three priority areas:





Roads: Some 40 miles of roads were paved this year, and more must be accomplished in the next two years.





Economic development: Continue to bring and maintain business in town that will add to the grand list and add new jobs.





Taxes: Streamline government to be more efficient and save money as increased taxes affect more local families.

Board of education candidates said their primary goal is to offer the very best to this town's students at the best price possible.

Board member Julie Turk , who was appointed 10 months ago, said having the best classroom resources is a priority and to do so the board needs to consider cost-saving strategies in other areas.

Board member Robin Ruggiero , who has served in a two-term seat and is seeking a four-year seat, said he wants to see more professional development for teachers and to prepare for a more diverse student population.

On land-use issues, zoning commission candidate Walter Rogg , a former mayor who is now an alternate, said he finds the zoning regulations to be "unwieldy" and the current members often making decisions that violate the rights of the property owners. Almost every meeting lasts past midnight "and that's no way to run a railroad."

Rogg has been criticized by current members and the public for regularly nodding off at the meetings. Rogg said he would propose limiting the meetings to no later than 10:30 p.m.

As for the planning commission, Chairwoman Vivian Harris said she looks forward to a review of the town's general plan of conservation and development, preservation of farmland and introduction of what she calls a "visual impact zone." She said that would protect ridgelines with requirements about use of natural materials and colors to meld into the landscape without depriving landowners of their right to build.

Board of finance candidates Larry Tripp and Robert Sulliman Jr. both said they hope to bring common sense to the board as well as a commitment to spend what is required, which might sometimes be more rather than less. The key is to assure accountability and wise spending practices, they said.

"We have to watch the tax base and make wise choices," said council member Theresa Volinski .

The Republican party ticket is:





Town council: Raymond O'Brien , Pete Bass, Patricia Sherry , Theresa Volinski, Roger Szendy and Robert Guendelsberger .





Board of finance: Larry Tripp and Robert Sulliman Jr.





Board of education : Wendy Faulenbach , Robin Ruggiero, Julie Turk and Ann Burns





Planning commission: Peter Eng, Vivian Harris





Zoning commission: Walter Rogg, William Taylor





Zoning board of appeals: Martin Montiero and Joanne Chapin .