Letter: McGee offers vision for Shelton
To the Editor:
Originally, I planned to pen a letter that pointed out the numerous failures of the incumbents I am running against. After all, there is plenty of reason to cast blame: A $12 million undesignated surplus fund spent down to $0, and a bond rating lowered twice because of it; an overdeveloped Bridgeport Avenue and the destruction of our green space and greater traffic flow; an underfunded education system to the tune of $3,000 per student; and the numerous strains this puts on our teachers, students, and parents in order to close the gap, just to name a few. However, after knocking on more than 1,500 doors in the 3rd Ward for the past three months, I have learned that constituents don’t want to hear the negatives. They want to know how we plan to improve the current situation we all face together. So here’s our vision:
1) Increase education funding and improve the relationship between the BOA and the BOE, proving that our city does care about the education of its students. We want to see class sizes reduced, pay to participate eliminated, replacement of run-down textbooks and the continued implementation of a 1:1 Chromebook initiative for every student, grades 5 on up. We don’t need to raise taxes to do this as, according to the 2018 audit, $4 million in excess surplus exists across three separate departments (public safety, public works and general government). If we re-prioritize and budget better we can increase funding without raising taxes. Additionally, the BOA and the BOE should schedule monthly meetings (not just quarterly, like they are now) in order to be on the same page regarding education spending. This improvement in communication will hopefully reduce the city’s urge to sue it’s own BOE over every disagreement, instead bringing both the BOE and BOA together to work for the betterment of all our constituents.
2) Shelton needs to spend responsibly. This BOA should authorize an operational audit to be done on all city finances (including the BOE) immediately. Currently, the city conducts a rather basic financial audit, which only shows us the mere tip of the iceberg. In order to rout out waste to ensure your taxes are spent as efficiently as possible, we need to know exactly where each dollar comes from and how it is used. Further, the city should investigate hiring a different auditor, as the current longtime city auditor is the same auditor that just a few years ago missed a $1 million theft over the span of 10 years by a city employee. It makes no sense that the city of Shelton has continued to hire the same auditor over all these years, and it is high past time for a change.
3) Development and the revitalization of downtown needs to prioritized and encouraged, while traditionally wooded and suburban areas need to be preserved. To accommodate for continued urban development downtown, the amount of public parking needs to increase. A parking garage preferably in the public lot next to the post office is one solution. Finally, the city should allocate funds for the hiring of an “economic development director” as exists in other surrounding towns (Trumbull, Milford) who’s principle focus is to bring in high-paying jobs to the city and subsequent developments which support them. The city should work to attract developments which bring in more stable employment rather than developments which attract dying industries such as restaurants and retail.
I love Shelton, and I’m sure my opponents do too. However, it’s time for a new vision and fresh ideas. On Tuesday, Nov. 5, I humbly ask for your support to serve you on the Board of Aldermen. Please reach out to me if you have a question, comment, idea,or concern at 203-402-9503. I want to hear from you as I want to serve you.
Board of Aldermen 3rd Ward