Letter: Shelton mayoral candidate outlines plan for low taxes, improved quality of life

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

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To the Editor:

I will not be a one-trick pony if elected to lead Shelton. I am committed to maintaining a low tax rate and keeping Shelton affordable for our seniors and families. Shelton had low taxes before this mayor and will have them after he is shown the door. Voters will not be giving up their low taxes but they will be gaining better management, financial stability for the future and quality of life improvements.

I want to be more specific regarding what I mean by better management. I want voters to know that I will work overtime every day for the residents of Shelton. I will be here in the city each day working to improve Shelton. I will not be one foot out the door running for another office. I will be present. I assure you that our city departments will be run by professionals who are also present and on the job each day, not lunching in nearby cities.

I will get rid of all no-show jobs. These funds will be better utilized on city priorities. We will allow all boards and commissions to do their jobs and provide the checks and balances we should all want in our government. We will make sure that proper training is afforded to our city departments so we can be assured of a high level of competence and service to our residents. We will usher in an era of respect and collaboration that will boost morale and help bring the best ideas for our city forward. At the same time, we will do a thorough and transparent audit of our city so we move forward knowing the facts and the real state of our city.

We will create a road map to stronger financial stability for Shelton’s future. Just last year, the city had almost no fund balance and struggled to pay vendors. In essence, we were broke. Even the rating agencies that determine the city’s credit rating had Shelton on a watch list due to low reserves and other factors. We will take practical steps over time with our relevant boards to build a reasonable reserve for our future stability.

Our depleted infrastructure will also need to be addressed so we don’t fall over the edge of the cliff we are standing on right now. We will plan capital improvements that don’t waste time and resources. Just one example is the half-cocked effort along Constitution Boulevard. City workers installed loads of wood chips in an attempt to improve the walking path in that area. Instead of making an improvement, it has made a mess. It is not good material for walking, running or biking on. It is washing out onto the street clogging storm drains. This will now need to be cleaned up wasting more resources and we are no closer to improving the area. Again, working together and over time, we will have a prioritized capital plan that doesn’t waste resources but helps us get our infrastructure, municipal buildings and schools in better shape.

As for quality of life improvements, we need better planning and we need a vision for our city. A vision that encompasses the transformation of our downtown, addresses the traffic congestion and future of our Bridgeport Avenue corridor and considers our neighborhoods. Waiting 30 years for progress in downtown is too long. The development occurring is not well planned and is contributing to the traffic, parking and overall poor experience visiting the area. Ask yourselves, “do you feel we are capitalizing on our downtown river front?” I am sure most residents see the potential in downtown and wonder why we can’t seem to reach it. I will bring new leadership.

We will be more active addressing the growing blight throughout the city. This requires acknowledging that we have a blight problem, not denying it, and setting this as a priority with our city departments. We will also aggressively pursue all grants and outside funding that can help us improve our parks and recreation assets, improve walkability throughout the city, improve our schools and support other projects and priorities. We are leaving money on the table.

I will budget conservatively, hold the line on spending but better manage the day-to-day of Shelton so we experience progress and improvements that position Shelton better for the future.

I look forward to continuing a dialog with Shelton voters. I will be detailing my platform on smart economic development, public safety and education in the coming weeks. I look forward to hearing from residents and working with everyone to bring new vision and leadership to our city.

David A. Eldridge

Candidate for Mayor of Shelton