Op-Ed: Lauretti's leadership has spurred Shelton's incredible growth

Mayor Lauretti, in his July 26 acceptance speech as the Republican candidate for mayor stated “this is serious stuff.” His audience of municipal workers, board and commission members, 2021 municipal candidates and RTC members could not have agreed more.

The seriousness of the next municipal election scheduled for Nov. 2 is very real. The world around us is not as safe as it has been in the past. Without a doubt our elected official must be on board to protect and guide us. The mayor is also correct when he has repeated to supporters and his foes, “being right at the end of the day is important” and it takes much more than rhetoric to achieve that goal.

There is hard work being accomplished and more to be done and the newly selected slate of Shelton Republican Town Committee municipal candidates contains a mix of Shelton citizens with many skill sets, and each of them has real world experience and they are willing to serve the citizens of Shelton to advance our city forward in the harsh economic environment we find just outside our city.

The present administration is engaged in providing as much, and in some cases more services, as seamlessly as possible to its citizens. Shelton has never experienced, nor has it ever encountered, many of the things we see in the world since its incorporation in 1786.

We have to remember what brought Shelton from a Democratic free spending administration in 1991 that left the city $30 million in debt with 50 empty storefronts downtown, a river waterfront of decaying empty factories and only about 400 businesses barely surviving, to the robust economic mecca it is today 30 years later - a realistic and true vision of what Shelton can and will be with Mayor Mark A. Lauretti as its leader.

This vision has had many revisions but has steadfastly held true to the concept of expanding Bridgeport Avenue commerce and rebuilding downtown Shelton. Each with the endgame of supporting a tax base that has already grown from $1 billion in 1991 to more than $5 billion. This, along with continued growth, is allowing the elderly on fixed incomes to stay in their homes and younger families to live and save for their children’s future.

It has taken the hard work by some very insightful persons over these many years who volunteered and brought their own expertise to our city boards and commissions under Mayor Lauretti’s direction to achieve, sustain and move forward in this endeavor each day. It is not rocket science but it is very deft planning and collaboration that has moved the city forward for the good of all who live, work, recreate and are educated here.

Rarely can a town of this size garner $144 million with much more to come in serious private investment without a city administration that is steadfast, easy to understand, and provides a growing economy and very steady tax rate. The present administration has held the tax rate stable or reduced it 22 times in 30 years. This is an important keystone to Shelton’s success that supports things such as more than 2,000 acres of open space, fully paid for with well maintained trails and vistas to enjoy. New schools and facilities have been added, updated and even remodeled to like new. Cooperation and cost sharing between the mayor, BoA and BoE to fully fund the Shelton public schools as well a planned infrastructure maintenance has been achieved.

Moving forward there is always change, it is never easy nor is it always appreciated at first glance. It would be nice for everything to stay the same. However in the real world our survival and that of the city depends on serious plans to seek out solid businesses to come to town along with good city planning supervised by citizen board oversight which we can all agree on has been accomplished and is still moving in the right direction now and has been during the tenure of Mark A. Lauretti and his Republican administration.

Anthony F. Simonetti is an alderman in the First Ward and chair of the Shelton Republican Town Committee.