Stamford Board of Finance member, Deputy Commissioner of the State of CT Department of Economic and Community Development, and Lecturer in Urban Planning at Yale University's Graduate School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
I will aim to better engage the city’s taxpayers in an ongoing dialogue to find the right balance between high quality services and cost savings. Throughout this campaign, at neighborhood meetings and from individuals, I have heard really creative ideas about how to make our city even better without breaking the bank. For example, energy efficiency in city buildings provides the dual outcomes of controlling operating costs while reducing carbon emissions and climate impact. We need to go after these win-win scenarios with a passion, and the residents and business-owners of Stamford can play a more meaningful role in helping us identify those opportunities.
In the last four years that I have been an elected member of the Board of Finance, we have implemented small but meaningful measures to enable coordination between the Boards of Finance, Education, and Representatives. For example, the Superintendent of Schools and members of the Board of Education now attend our meetings on a monthly basis so that Dr. Lucero can update us on special education costs and other evolving conditions that have the potential for significant budgetary impact. In doing so, the Board of Education is building a very positive working relationship with the Board of Finance and identifying and tackling challenges as they emerge, so they don’t crop up exclusively during the budgeting period. Additionally, this past budget cycle, the Board of Finance and the Fiscal Committee of the Board of Representatives held several joint meetings together to meet with city departments. This provided the benefit of hearing one another’s questions and better understanding the objectives of each board. I’m committed to identifying and seizing opportunities to further coordinate so that the gears of local government turn smoothly when our objectives are aligned for the benefit of the city’s residents and business-owners.
Stamford has benefited greatly these last several years from the building permit fees and transfer tax revenue from the construction of new apartment buildings and their sale. This level of development cannot be sustained indefinitely; and these revenue sources will wane. I commit to working closely with the administration and other board (the Planning Board in particular) to better understand the medium-term trends we are likely to see and ensure that the city’s budgeting process does not set an expectation for variable revenues that will not be met. We need to right size government operations to those revenues that will be sustained.