Get to know Roxbury first selectman candidate Bruce Tuomala

Bruce Tuomala

Bruce Tuomala

/ Bruce Tuomala

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of two Question and Answer profiles on the first selectmen candidates in Roxbury.

Bruce Tuomala, a Republican, is running against Patrick Roy, a Democrat. Current Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry is retiring after 24 years of service.

Below are answers from Bruce Tuomala.

Tell us about yourself.

I work as a principal at Sisu Group, a creative branding agency. I’m married to Elizabeth Tuomala and have four children and two grandchildren. I have a bachelor of science degree in business from the University of Southern California.

What elected offices or community groups are you involved with?

Danbury Hackerspace, Jericho Partnership, WCSU Ancell. Campaign website: www.roxburyct.gop; Facebook: Tuomala2021

What is your background, experience and credentials for this job?

I have a combination of extensive business experience as a corporate executive, strategy consultant, entrepreneur, and business owner while serving on several boards with significant municipal experience as a city department head, and a vast network of relationships and contacts all over the state. The First Selectman role is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be. My background is ideal for it.

What is your reaction to and what will you do about the state government’s current initiative to influence and change local zoning?

For background, see Letter To The Editor on Page 5 of the Oct. 29th New Milford Spectrum.

To clarify from the debate: DesegregateCT is not a threat to Roxbury. Hartford is. I have a specific proactive plan that involves partnering with like-mined cities and towns in opposition. I’ll also be speaking out about it on behalf of Roxbury wherever I can.

What are your top three commitments to Roxbury?

1) Keeping taxes low through conservative fiscal management.

2) Keeping the character and nature of the town essentially the same.

3) Protecting the town against the threat of Hartford’s attempt to control local zoning and land use.

How do you feel about affordable housing in Roxbury?

Any affordable housing initiative has to be market-driven, determined by fair market value. State statute CGS 8-30g already allows developers to bypass our local zoning regulations since we have not met the 10 percent threshold for affordable housing. We also have local zoning regulations that make provision for it. Yet, no one has done a project in Roxbury (other than the Bernhard Meadows project, which was partially federally funded).

Reasons include a lack of city water and sewer, no public transportation, high infrastructure costs requiring a minimum 75-100 units be built, and lack of public support for any proposed projects. But developers and other interested parties, like a housing authority, are welcome to try.

Do you think Roxbury should have a housing authority? Please explain.

If people want to form a housing authority, they are welcome to do that. It is not a function of the Board of Selectmen or the town government.

With multiple infrastructure repairs on the horizon, do you think Roxbury should look into bonding? Please explain.

There are multiple ways to fund infrastructure projects. Options include budgeting using taxpayer money, obtaining grants from federal, state, and other sources, or bonding. Bonding is the least desirable of the three approaches, and only if necessary due to the urgency of a project and a lack of other available funds.

How do you feel about the new marijuana legislation and its impact on Roxbury?

I would support potential ordinances to ban use of marijuana on town property and prevent sale and distribution in town. Because of our small population, there is no economic incentive for a retail seller in Roxbury. It would only increase traffic, increase the potential for crime, and require increased police and security. Any financial benefit to the town would pale in comparison.