They also said they will work to promote more economic growth so the town can afford to do more for residents.

Reading off a long list of accomplishments, the mayor, who is seeking a third term in November, said she is proud of what the administration has been able to do over the last four years -- everything from build a skate park and repair 113 miles of roads to renovating Railroad Street and passing an underage drinking ordinance. She promised to push for even more.

Topping that agenda is overseeing the Route 67/Grove Street intersection improvements and construction of a new ambulance barn. Murphy and Town Council candidates agreed on the need to market the town-owned former Century Brass mill as an industrial property and assure the preservation of 40 acres of Hunt Hill Farm.

Murphy said she still wants to be creative about ways to make things happen at minimal cost and stay open to ideas that residents suggest, such as a recent proposal to build a dog park.

Murphy and some of the council candidates -- incumbents Ray O'Brien, Roger Szendy, Robert Guendelsberger, Theresa Volinski and Board of Education member William McLachlan -- differed on whether the town should hire a town planner but agreed that there is a need to strategize with the various town commissions on how best to lead the town forward. Incumbent Pete Bass was absent. Republican petitioning candidate George McLaughlin was also not present.

Only Szendy favored a town planner; the others preferred hiring a planning consultant to work with the agencies already established to map out the town's future development plans.

New Milford First and Democratic mayoral challengers Robert Kostes and Larry Stillman have stated that they believe the town has suffered for a lack of planning and needs to make that a much bigger priority.

The Zoning Commission candidates -- incumbent Chairman Eleanor Florio and newcomers Walter Kidd and Mona Tito -- said priorities for the coming term are eliminating the regulation that limits competitive businesses to locations more than a mile apart, streamlining the application process and supporting property rights to balance historic, commercial, industrial and residential properties.

Planning Commission candidate Jim Volinski said he and candidates Katy Francis and Tom Morey favor updating the town's plan of conservation and development so that it is more "user-friendly'' and less "wishy-washy'' about how the town should grow over the next decade or more. He said that process will be starting in the next couple weeks.

The Board of Education will be undergoing a major change with this election as its membership is trimmed from 12 to nine members, with five seats to be filled. The Republicans have three candidates: incumbent Joseph Failla, who was appointed a year ago, Shelley Pitser and Walter Rogg.

Pitser, a founder of the New Milford Taxpayers Association, said the school board campaign is focused on offering a high-quality education in a cost-efficient fashion. She and her fellow candidates support merging certain school and town operations with the aim of freeing up money for education. She also emphasized the need for the district to invest more in technology because that is how students will be marketable in the working world.

For the Board of Finance, incumbent Chairman Robert Sherry and member Michel Gutman, said their job is to scrutinize the proposed town and school budgets and other financial requests to keep taxes affordable. Candidate Mark Vendetti was absent.

Murphy said she believes her party is putting forth a strong ticket that has proven that it is fiscally responsible, keeps its word and is open to differing viewpoints for the greater community good.

"We are all working to find solutions to keep our community wonderful," Murphy said.