As part of GOOD Morning Wilton‘s coverage of the elections on Nov. 3, and of the campaigns leading up to that day, we have set out some guidelines. Candidates are invited to submit op-ed pieces before the elections. Deborah McFadden is the Democratic candidate for Wilton’s first selectman. This is her second of two op-eds; click here to read the first one .
After months of knocking on doors, attending events, speaking at community forums, and simply listening to what you all have had to say, I am more confident than ever that your vision for Wilton has helped inform my vision as to what we all want for our community and where we see our town four years from now. As your first selectman, working together, here is what I know we can achieve.
Open and Responsive Government
- Increased transparency and greater participation will help increase trust in our government and our elected officials.
- All of our citizens will know their voices matter ⎯ regardless of party affiliation ⎯ and feel comfortable, even motivated, to make their views known.
- Improved communication in and out of Town Hall will help Wilton citizens understand how and why their elected officials make their decisions.
- Public discourse that is more civil and respectful will encourage more Wilton citizens to volunteer and participate in town government.
Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development
- Any increase in our property taxes will be held at or under the rate of inflation ⎯ without accounting gimmicks and without diminishing vital services.
- We will avoid recklessly deferring what should be current expenditures into the future when they will only cost more.
- Wilton’s AAA bond rating will remain intact with debt service at no more than 10-percent of annual expenditures as recommended by Moody’s.
- Adequate reserves will be set aside to replace assets like turf fields that predictably need to be maintained and upgraded.
- The town’s infrastructure ⎯ buildings, roads, parks and fields ⎯ will be prudently maintained.
- Increased collaboration between the town and schools, along with more examples of regional cooperation, will lead to improved services and cost efficiencies.
- More examples of public/private partnerships will enhance our quality of life at a reduced cost to the town
Residents will begin to see the first fruits of our economic development plan in terms of fewer empty storefronts in Wilton Center and an influx of new businesses along Rte. 7, especially in South Wilton, reducing the tax burden on residents and helping to stimulate growth in the commercial share of our grand list. Plans to enhance Schenck’s Island and develop a boardwalk along the Norwalk River will increasingly draw residents and visitors to Wilton, making the village more of a destination for families and visitors.
Commitment to Educational Excellence
For many of us superior schools are what brought us to Wilton. They underpin real estate values and contribute to Wilton’s reputation as a good place to live and raise a family.
- Wilton schools will continue to be ranked among the best in the nation.
- Students will receive a first-rate education and be prepared to assume their role as good citizens.
- Graduates will gain admission to competitive colleges and universities of their choice.
- The renovation of Miller-Driscoll School will be completed on time and under budget.
- Wilton will continue to enjoy a reputation as community that values and supports its schools.
- Band director Chip Gawle will have a GRAMMY on his mantelpiece.
Services and Support for Senior Citizens
- Seniors will have more housing options and available services, allowing them to downsize and afford to remain here in Wilton.
- Needs-based tax relief and deferrals will be utilized by an increasing number of our seniors and disabled residents.
- The town’s Senior Advisory Committee will meet regularly with town officials to identify needs, propose solutions, and serve as an advocate for issues related to seniors.
Wilton’s Brand: Its Heritage, Environment and Character
For me, this may be the most important part of my vision because it combines my hopes and aspirations for this wonderful community I love. It is less about dollars and cents and more about how we perceive ourselves and how others see us.
- Wilton will be known as a town that cherishes its heritage, with provisions in place to guarantee sufficient time for thoughtful discussion and possible intervention prior to any action threatening Wilton’s historic inheritance.
- Wilton will continue to strengthen its image as the “most environmentally friendly town in the State of Connecticut,” supporting local efforts to reduce the town’s carbon footprint.
- Wilton will be widely viewed as a community united in spirit, committed to family values, and driven by engaged volunteers.
I cannot promise that I will be able to deliver on all of these goals. What I can say is that together we can create a future for Wilton that will make all of us proud. So I ask for your support on Nov. 3, and as your first selectman in the years ahead.