Shelton Board of Aldermen Ward 1 candidate: Anthony Simonetti

Anthony Simonetti

Anthony Simonetti

Contributed photo

Party: Republican

Incumbent?: Yes, have served 18 years on the Board of Alderman

Current Job: Part-time Substitute, Emmett O’Brien Vocational Technical High School, Ansonia

Past Employment: 45 Years as administrator of long-term care facilities in Connecticut, Florida and Arizona; Three years in Engineering Administration, Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford and Bridgeport; Five years as manager of a 164-seat restaurant/bar in Phoenix, Ariz.

Volunteering: Hazardous Household Waste Day, Shelton Day, Shelton Flag Football vice president and coach, Biddy Basketball, and Shelton youth soccer coach, SHS Drama Club, Valley Shakespeare Festival, Shelton Republican Town Committee.

Education: Shelton public schools, grades K - 5, St. Margaret Mary RC School, grades 6 - 8, Notre Dame West Haven - Class of ‘72, University of Scranton - Class of ‘76, Quinnipiac College, Nursing Home Administrator License program, University of Bridgeport - Business Management courses

What prompted you to run for office? I have always believed that giving back to my community is part of my duty to family and community. I had volunteered in youth programs for my children and when approached about being and elected official, I was honored and felt it was a way to serve the people of Shelton and the community we call our home.

What are the major issues/changes you are focused on if elected? As a sitting member of the Board of Alderman, I am concerned with serving the people of Shelton. Their need of municipal services (clean air/water/sewers) to be safe and comfortable and to have good schools and activities are very important. Part of the well-being for residents is for them to know we have police, fire and ambulance service personnel who are well trained and can respond in time of a crisis. Each emergency service needs to be respected by the public and be accessible to the public for assistance, training and volunteering.

As an alderman under the Lauretti administration, my focus has been on providing fiscal oversight to assure taxpayer dollars are spent effectively and efficiently. The adding of new refuse pick-up has made the city substantially cleaner; our sewage treatment plant was upgraded, public schools were added and upgraded; City of Shelton staff was utilized for in-house projects; programs to refurbish buildings, schools, roads have been very successful. I have been a big proponent of securing more than 2,200 acres of open/recreation space which is paid for.

How can you make any proposed improvements yet keep taxes at the stable level they are at present? Improvements to Shelton can be made, and taxes held at a stable level, by continuing to seek out private entities who can bring businesses to our city or which can improve existing properties. By doing so, the increased property value increases our tax base and brings more employees to Shelton where they increase commerce by dining at our restaurants and shopping at our stores.

Thoughts on BOE spending, city-run bus company? Do you agree with the spending levels set forth in the past for the BOE, and is running a bus company (and the costs associated) worth it to the city? After careful review of each City department’s budget request and a review of the history of each department’s spending, the BoA sets the budget for all City departments. The BoE, as it currently exists, has been a very good steward of the tax dollars paid by city resident. Over the last two years the BoA, the BoE and the current school administration have been very cooperative with each other, finding common ground and openly discussing the programs and needs of the schools which has been very helpful to determine the level of funding for the schools.

Shelton Student Transportation Service - The use of outside services by any city department comes with a much higher cost and, in most cases, the city department is then at the mercy of a vendor for extra costs and surcharges. Several years ago the BoA authorized Mayor Lauretti to purchase a fleet of school buses. That action reduced the cost for student transport by $1.6M each year. Even with these savings, the BoA did not reduce the BoE budget.

I believe SSTS is a very good program for our City and the BoE. Its cost is much less per year than any vendor who supplied a quote for student transportation to the BoE. It has also provided the BoE with more flexibility on transportation issues, and it is again another cost-saving program that has garnered the BoE even more funds to use for classroom technology improvement and a host of other educational programs. The BoA did not reduce the BoE budget when these savings were made.

The spending levels of prior BoE’s were not always made clear to the BOA. Even when BoA members offered to assist with technology improvements, the BoE was not inclined to accept assistance or share their insight, thoughts or actions they had taken. Our present BoE has been forthcoming and cooperative. The Superintendent of Schools has, with BoE knowledge and approval, discussed matters with the Mayor and some BoA members directly to the benefit of our city and the SSPS.

I do feel it is always in the best interests of our city, and — more importantly — its citizens, to find and incorporate ways of deleting or reducing costs. The SSTS is only one area in which Shelton leads other municipalities in reducing costs for education by directly monitoring costs and by providing timely service to students. A new tracking system to benefit SSTS, students, and parents was purchased in July, 2021. It will be in service shortly and will assist with the responsibility of the SSTS to safely and accurately pick up students and return them to their homes.