Shelton Board of Aldermen Ward 2 candidate: Eric J. McPherson

Eric McPhearson

Eric McPhearson

Contributed photo

Party: Republican

Incumbent?: Yes, have served 12 years on the Board of Alderman

Current job: Retired

Volunteering: Board of Aldermen, Hazardous Waste Collection Day

Previous Offices Held: Board of Apportionment and Taxation

What prompted you to run for office? What prompted me to run for office is my belief in giving back to the community. My belief in duty, helping others, and making a difference in the community is why I want to serve. Shelton is a great place in which to live, work and raise a family. I am fortunate to live here.

What are the major issues/changes you are focused on if elected? The major issues/changes I will focus on, if elected, are the same I have always focused on:

• keeping Shelton's taxes low to keep our city an affordable place in which to live, work, raise a family, and to attract businesses/jobs.

• continuing to clean up blight, getting road repairs and working with our emergency personnel on safety issues. I have been a strong and tireless advocate for revitalization of the downtown area and will work to continue that process.

• continuing smart, balanced growth and continued purchase of open space.

And, most importantly, continuing and strengthening the new cooperative spirit between the BOA and BOE for the benefit of our students.

How can you make any proposed improvements yet keep taxes at the stable level they are at present? Proposed changes can be made while keeping taxes low because Shelton is an affordable place which continues to attract many businesses and families. Shelton is one of the most affordable places in the state. The recent increase in people and businesses relocating to Shelton is proof that Shelton is a highly sought after community, and we are the envy of the state. Fiscally prudent policies and management are why Shelton is so successful, and I will continue those policies if elected. As the BOA is the fiscal authority of the City, it must continue to provide sound fiscal oversight.

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? Regarding BOE spending levels, I do agree with the spending levels budgeted and the decline in enrollment since 2009 is one of the reasons why. Also, the City has provided the BOE with millions of dollars with in-kind services and has absorbed their capital improvement costs. In doing so, we have freed up monies in the BOE budget for them to use on programs/enhancements for students. The City has also purchased Chromebooks, promethium boards, replaced teacher's desktop computers, and has given increased monies for books and supplies. The cooperation with the Mayor, the new School Superintendent, the current BOE and BOA has resulted in positive outcomes for the City. One great example is the Mayor and Superintendent working together to negotiate the tuition for Shelton students who attend Bridgeport magnet schools with the Bridgeport School Superintendent which resulted in a $50,000 savings to Shelton taxpayers. I look forward very much to a continued and harmonious relationship between the BOA and BOE.

It is well worth it to have the City running the school buses. When the City purchased the school bus fleet, it was one of about two other cities at the time to do so. By the City taking over management of the school buses, more than $1.6 million has been saved per year during FY’s 2019-20, 2020-21, and the current year compared to the previous vendor’s contract. Shelton’s experience with the shortage of bus drivers is no different than what other Connecticut communities is experiencing. Even with the driver shortage, Shelton schools never closed.