Minutes of Y's Men Meeting of May 18, 2017
Jim Marpe and Nina Daniel with Jim Lomuscio
Mr. Lomuscio introduced the session by stating that Connecticut is in terrible financial shape and that sets an environment for all the towns in the state including Westport and Weston. He posed a series of questions to Mr. Marpe and Ms. Daniel.
Ms. Daniel expanded on these statements by pointing out that Connecticut has more people moving out of the state then are moving in. It also has a very low birth rate and is ranked 50 out of 50 states for financial well-being. Towns like Westport and Weston pay a lot in taxes, but receive little in the way of state support.
Mr. Marpe, how does the state’s condition affect Westport?
Mr. Marpe stated that Westport is currently going to hold its mill rate and keep its maximum reserve level. But he indicated that under the governor’s plan to deal with the teacher pension fund shortfall across the state, Westport might get hit with a six million dollar bill that would necessitate a tax increase.
How do you keep the towns attractive and desirable?
Mr. Marpe pointed out the plans to expand the senior center and the town’s commitment to keep its schools at an academically high level.
Ms. Daniel stated that Weston is demographically unique with many people working from home. Weston also has a great school system and is working hard to keep property taxes low with an opportunity to flatten out taxes once the current school debt is paid off in a couple of years.
The question was asked as to what new challenges faced these towns.
Mr. Marpe stated that social media has inserted the need for instant response, which proves a challenge.
Ms. Daniel came back to the financial pressure caused by the state’s condition. She also feels that social media helps keep people informed of developments.
What are you proudest of?
Ms. Daniel referred to the quality of the Weston schools and her efforts to have opportunities and attractions for every age group.
Mr. Marpe referred to Westport’s fiscal stability and his efforts to approach commissions and projects on a non-partisan basis. He also mentioned his efforts to reach out to the business community.
What are your goals for the next year?
Ms. Daniel wants to maintain Weston’s school excellence as well as maintaining good security for its schools. She would like to do more for seniors especially in the area of housing as the town’s senior population is expected to increase by over 50% in the years to come. Fiscal stability with no new debt is another goal.
Mr. Marpe referred to the new library plans, expanding the senior center and reducing energy costs. Other problems receiving his attention will be reducing the traffic problem, increasing collaboration with the schools and increasing affordable senior housing.
Q What are the town’s bond ratings?
A. Both Westport and Weston have triple A bond ratings.
Q. What is Weston doing to increase its commercial base?
A. Weston is a residential community and is not trying to increase its commercial base.
Q. If either of you were governor what would you do to turn the state around?
A. Ms. Daniel said we have to look at what works in other states and adopt these programs.
Mr. Marpe referred to the state pension issue and stated that it has to be solved and the cost structure of the state has to be changed.