"I come from a proud Connecticut family and I want to keep families in Hamden and restore our resident's faith in their elected leaders. Hamden's financial problems, years in the making, have pushed many families to decide to leave their home and lose confidence in Hamden's ability to self manage. I will implement and adhere to a strong fiscal policy that properly funds our obligations and over time will allow Hamden property owners to finally see relief. I will work with the Legislative Council to ensure that the plan has full support, is clearly understood by our residents and sends a clear signal that Hamden is taking the necessary steps to become a well run, inclusive, diverse and well managed town. I know what it takes to find solutions, to build relationships, to listen, to include and incorporate ideas and viewpoints from all who choose to lend their voice. I pledge to work tirelessly to make Hamden the town that pulled together and faced our challenges and responsibilities head on, with unity and respect for all. "
LIST OF ISSUES
I can offer and implement fair and sustainable solutions to solve the budget management problems which have stretched the taxpayers of Hamden to the breaking point. With more than twenty years of debt, obligation, overspending, and departmental mismanagement, there is a hazardous fiscal climate in Hamden. If the current administration is allowed to continue, they will push Hamden past the point of no return financially. Our town departments, contracts, pension funding and debt obligations, methods of revenue and fiscal planning, all need to be transparent and understandable to the taxpayer. Having a 48.73 mill rate is a sign that Hamden is in a very critical and fiscal health decline. Without imminent strong leadership, the ability to generate constructive negotiations and the practice of disciplined operating expense management across all of Hamden's departments, the downward spiral will only continue. This downward spiral can be stopped and a healthy fiscally secure Hamden is achievable with the right choice for Mayor.
For the short term:
Hamden will not take on any new bonding.
Hamden will have a hiring freeze other than for emergency personnel.
Each department will be charged to determine how to cutback unnecessary services.
Hamden will no longer have no-bid waiver contracts.
Hamden departments will enforce budget caps. Each department head will have to do more with less, including the elimination of unnecessary positions.
Mayoral Action Steps:
Structure the Mayor’s Office to include a Chief Administrative Officer.
Eliminate the Chief of Staff position and consolidate Mayoral staffing.
Hire a permanent, appropriately compensated Finance Director.
Maximize revenues from our departments by effectively managing all departments.
Require effective, transparent arbitration for all town contracts.
Bi-monthly reviews and public reports of expenditures in all Hamden departments.
Manage and meet with all department heads daily.
Determine avenues to consolidate departments and maximize efficiencies.
Reinforce Hamden’s Economic Development team to reflect the needs of a growing Hamden.
Review Hamden’s Charter, and prepare for Charter revisions which will benefit the residents of Hamden.
Hamden departments, including employees, not just Department Heads, will participate actively in the process of cost-cutting measures and have a voice to determine what is best for their department.
I am fully committed to restoring the trust of our citizens in our Hamden Public Schools. I fully support Pre-K in all of our elementary schools as it is a strong foundation for the formative years of our children. We need to support the teaching staff with current early childhood practices which provide the best early education and preparation possible. Early childhood education has its foundation in hands-on learning and in play.
The neighborhood school model can provide appropriate educational practices as well as continuing to be affordable. While Hamden faces dire financial problems, we cannot allow our schools or the students to suffer under the strain of those issues. The need to look at the diversity and demographics which make up each school will allow us to create balance and provide a multicultural atmosphere that reflects the population of Hamden.
I truly believe updating the curriculum is long overdue. Utilizing the talents and knowledge of our own teaching staff, we can create a modern, relevant, honest curriculum, which will challenge our young people as well as prepare them to be productive, informed citizens of a democratic society.
Finally, it is crucial that we address the social-emotional needs of all of our students in a more productive, proactive manner by providing training and ongoing supports for our teachers and support staff. Restorative practices need to be adopted and embedded in the culture of all of our classrooms and schools. Responsive classroom techniques are proactive and create environments where students can learn and teachers can teach. Support services must be preserved in order to provide necessary behavioral strategies to both the students and the teaching staff.
In a town the size of Hamden, we undoubtedly should have our own animal shelter. There are plenty of spaces in town that could provide the necessary space needed to house these animals. One such space is the public works building on Shepard Avenue. It is our duty as stewards of defenseless animals to provide a service that will rescue and find homes for unwanted pets as well as manage the issues which arise with non-domestic animals. We should commit to full-time animal wardens.
Raise your voices Hamden!
We can't create the changes that need to be made without YOUR input! What concerns you the most: traffic, property taxes, public safety, environmental matters, gun violence, preserving open space, lack of community involvement, any and all issues that are important to you, are very important to me! Come to my events, speak your mind! Be heard! Social media, posting flyers, lawn signs, word-of-mouth, and donating are all ways of helping us achieve our goal of a united Hamden. Let's work together.
Hamden By The Numbers
Hamden is the sixth-highest Mil Rate in the state.
Current Mill Rates:
New Britain: 50.50
East Hartford: 49.11
New Haven: 42.98
Hamden's legislative council underfunded the mayor's recommendation under some of the following administrations: Carusone, Clayman, DeNicola, Amento, Henrici, Jackson
From 1999 - 2002, Hamden's legislative council voted to fund $0 into the pension fund! In 1999-2000, DeNicola recommended $1.5 million and the legislative council approved $0. In 2002-2003, only $500,000 was recommended and approved by Amento and the LC.
It is clear from these numbers, the legislative council and the mayor's office have not been working in a collaborative manner or in the best interest of the town or the town's future. I want to know, and you should too, were party politics and personal and political agendas blocking thoughtful decision making and service to the public?
As your mayor, I would always be committed to working directly with the council and make decisions towards a path of fiscal recovery. This is going to be a painful process for all stakeholders. It will take some time to recover from 20 years of mismanaged damage. Our goal as a town should be Restore~Unite~Lead!
Fully realizing that the changing demographics and needs of Hamden require a more focused and determined vision is an important step in making Hamden a town for all. Inclusiveness, educational curriculum changes, positive reinforcements and role models for all Hamden students is very important. We need more creative input from students, parents, and teachers. Hamden must have solutions that reflect and echo the lessons the Town of Hamden has learned from our written and unwritten history. The future of Hamden begins in our schools with our children and in our neighborhoods with our neighbors. Together we can pledge to never allow the future of Hamden to be marginalized.
Hamden has a rich history with its origins consisting of thriving orchards and beautiful farms, a few of which are still surviving today. I am committed to supporting those farms by creating tax breaks for farm equipment and creating a Farmer’s Market which focuses on local produce in a more southern area of town with hours that are more accessible to working families, such as Saturdays. Our town needs a farm commission to manage the various issues which arise in the maintenance of these farms and the equipment. We should celebrate these farms and the delicious, healthy produce they can offer.
I would also encourage the schools to create partnerships with the farms so students could earn community service hours and learn various aspects of the farming business. Elementary schools could potentially create vegetable gardens on campus and students learning science concepts while simultaneously understanding where our food comes from.
Seniors could benefit from programs such as farm tours, apple picking, peach picking and more. I would expect the Clean and Green Commission to expand composting efforts and reach residents by offering training and affordable compost bins. I would increase the attendance and support of Earth Day by getting our school’s and youth more involved in the event.
I pledge to support the Hamden Alliance for Trees and all efforts to monitor proper tree management around the municipal land parcels as well as support residents in healthy tree management practices. In my administration, I will fully expect Hamden to fund tree planting, especially on the main traffic corridors. Communities that are rich with green space and trees are healthier and happier.
A thriving community has a healthy arts program both at the school level and at the town level. I am committed to maintaining the programs Hamden currently offers including award-winning theater programs at the middle and high school levels, Town-wide concerts and art shows, the Brooksvale Fall Festival, Silverbells, Saturday series at Thornton Hall, Summer Concert Series, and more. I will advocate for expanding the theater programs to the elementary schools, with grants, and through P.T.A. initiatives.
There is a great need to focus attention on economic development and be resourceful particularly in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th districts in our town. This area has been neglected for far too long and needs a plan of revitalization to bring thriving and long term economic development to Hamden. Expanding the role of the economic developer by growing that department, and by taking full advantage of the Economic Development Zone are top priorities. Using the funds earmarked for this, particularly in Southern Hamden, will bring all of Hamden a much-needed community equalizer.
Hamden needs to reach across town lines and collaborate with New Haven’s municipal planner as well as Yale University. Yale has been steadily growing and expanding, causing a severe impact on many communities across the city of New Haven and Hamden, and I believe our 5th district has been and will continue to be impacted the most by this growth and expansion. It is imperative that we develop a vision for the future of this district and make expert decisions in the business growth we make.
There is a clear need for opportunity and growth for all. There is also a need for improved choices of particular types of businesses such as better quality grocery (green markets) stores, farmer’s markets, recreation facilities, venues for our children and teens, and job opportunities for everyone. We also need to improve and expand public transportation which requires cooperation from the State Department of Transportation. I am committed to creating opportunities in a well-planned methodology using a team approach which will include community input as well as experts in the field of town planning.
Eligibility for a Federal Opportunity Zone
Opportunity Funds can only obtain the tax benefits by investing in Opportunity Zones. The Opportunity Zones designated in Connecticut are shown on the map above.
Qualifying investments may incline equity in nearly any real estate or business that investors find attractive, as long as they are substantially within the Opportunity Zone. The successful investments will be those that are most likely to appreciate over the 10-year investment hold period. If an equity investment in a qualified business or project must be liquidated before the 10-year investment period is over, the opportunity fund can reinvest in another qualified business or project.
Real estate projects should be either new development or an existing building in need of substantial renovation. Qualified real estate investments can include multi-family and single-family housing, commercial, retail, industrial and mixed-use.
Business investments can include any growing business that is willing to take equity investors either as control or non-control positions. Businesses should operate within the Opportunity Zone (at least 70% of their operations) and derive most of their revenues from sales within Opportunity Zones (at least 50% of sales).
Energy efficiency and renewable energy projects can also qualify and may derive their appreciation value from reliable longterm cashflow.
In exchange for their investments, Opportunity Fund investors are able to decrease their federal tax burden through the preferential treatment of capital gains.
Quinnipiac Students Volunteering at a local elementary school during The Big Event 2018
Hamden needs to establish and maintain a productive working relationship with Quinnipiac University. Our town has been at odds with QU for far too long. Quinnipiac University does not “owe” Hamden anything. Rather, we are neighbors sharing Hamden and need to figure out a way to work together with the university on areas of housing, student rentals, neighborhood blight, and community service. Establishing a positive working relationship with the leaders of the university will be a priority in my administration. I have already begun to forge open communication with the administration at QU and will continue this work as your mayor. I will fully expect Hamden’s zoning office to thoroughly vet every application for student housing rental and we will ensure that the landlords and tenants comply with the laws and policies of rental housing in Hamden.