Shelton Board of Aldermen Ward 3 candidate: John Anglace, Jr.

Shelton Board of Aldermen Chair John Anglace addresses fellow veterans during a socially-distanced Veterans Day ceremony at the Shelton Senior Center on Monday, November 9, 2020.

Shelton Board of Aldermen Chair John Anglace addresses fellow veterans during a socially-distanced Veterans Day ceremony at the Shelton Senior Center on Monday, November 9, 2020.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

Party: Republican

Incumbent status: I am an incumbent; have been honored to be elected as an Alderman for 15 terms and completed 30 years of service to the city in this capacity.

Current job: I am currently retired, devoting full time to my elected position as President of the Board of Aldermen. My work background spans 41 years in industry with the last 28 years at Pfizer, Inc., N.Y. headquarters as worldwide labor relations director.

Volunteer background: I have volunteered with the Housatonic Council, BSA and numerous other civic groups.

Education: I am a trade school and college graduate with a degree in human resources.

Previous offices held: Formerly Shelton Welfare Director and A&T member.

Military status: I am a U.S. Army veteran with service in the European Theater.

1. Nothing “prompted” me to run for office. I was active in Shelton City government long before I retired and always wanted to give back to my community after retirement. Serving as an Alderman has fulfilled that desire.

2. The major issues/changes I will focus on if reelected are to continue to make low and affordable taxes a reality through innovative and frugal budgeting. I would also look to improve our educational services by building on the excellent working relationship established with the new superintendent and the BOE, continuing to build the Grand List through smart and balanced development, continuing to offer and support cost savings ideas, continuing our downtown revitalization and balanced growth.

3. Proposed improvements under the Lauretti administration have largely been financed from new and innovative cost savings ideas. Some examples of this are: {a} Transitioning our bonding debt to negotiated bank notes where thousands are saved in legal fees and interest payments; {b} Where the BOE has been able to repurpose bus money saved because of a Lauretti administration initiated three-year court mediated settlement that guaranteed a cost of $3.15 million annually for three years. (When this same bus service was last bid it came in at $4.4 million.) (c) Resorting to self-insurance programs with reserve funding is another cost savings approach and (d) longer term utility contracts. All the above have been employed under the Lauretti administration They provided budget savings and allowed us to lower our taxpayer’s burden without reducing services. Maintaining low and stable taxes requires new, bold, and innovative money management ideas, which the Lauretti administration has continuously adopted.

4. The new superintendent of schools has achieved open dialogue with the mayor and the city fiscal authority and has been open and honest in assessing BOE needs. All parties would agree that the BOE budget for FY2021-22 was fully funded as was the FY 2020-21 BOE budget and this has set the tone for future budget discussions. We have achieved an open and honest dialogue based on fiscal reality versus previous unfounded wishful thinking, and this will benefit everyone.

5. The city-run bus company is working collaboratively with the BOE and an outside contractor to integrate new bus service technology that will benefit all bus users, administrators, providers, and parents. Our bus service is on par with or exceeds many privately offered services. Should the City offer bus service? To answer that question, one must recall the costs associated with subcontracting to private services. As I recall, the BOE/private bus service contracts called for a five-year agreement, with the city paying for a new fleet of buses every five years costing some $5 million (even though the buses have a useful life of 10-12 years). After five years, the BOE negotiated bus contract gave ownership of those buses to the contractor who, it is rumored, was able to sell them for $2.5 million (clear profit). This five-year cycle continued with the city buying new buses every five years. It is clear on a comparative basis and after two years into this city run service that a city run bus service is a cost-effective approach to providing required student bus service. It is not easy to provide but, as several other CT communities have also found, the savings to taxpayers is substantial and worth the effort. Some other municipal services are also not easy to provide (sewer or public works) either, but it is cost effective and a hefty taxpayer savings to do them in-house.

6. Past BOE spending levels are not pertinent to the discussion to provide future funding. The new Superintendent’s approach to building an understanding of BOE spending needs with the city fiscal authority, looking at longer term needs during the annual budget process and communicating BOE budget rationale is an open and collaborative process that should produce appropriate results. Our fiscal focus should be on the future. Leave the politics at the door and it will work. Shelton is the envy of our neighboring communities. We are growing in a balanced way that ensures continuation of our values and our quality of life. There have been many new people who recently made the decision to move to Shelton who reinforce the notion that Shelton is a community of choice. They know why life in Shelton was so attractive to them. Whatever the reason, I urge them to remember it when they enter the polling place … why change it if it ain’t broken?