Many of the residents I have spoken to in District 15 have varying concerns, but property taxes and mold in our schools seem to be two of the biggest concerns. I'll address the schools in the second question. I feel one area that can be examined to help alleviate property taxes is stopping the use of TIF Districts (Tax Incremental Financing). We have two in Stamford, which are located in Harbor Point and Mill River Park. This is a complex issue, but basically half the property taxes collected from the surrounding properties of those two entities go toward funding expenses incurred by the construction and/or operation of the entities. In other words, all property owners are subsidizing some aspect of the revenue taken from these TIF Districts. I believe this is an issue that is relatively unknown to taxpayers that should not be practiced on face value. I do want to examine it further however to see what relief can be achieved from such a decision if made.
I believe if a representative is doing their job, they will not only stay abreast of the issues within the Board of Education and Board of Finance, but actively engage with those other board members. I already have several relationships with members of both of these boards, which is imperative due to the decision making power both would have in tackling this issue. Two years ago, a very unpopular idea to sell a third of our school property to private industry was pushed by the administration of the City and the Stamford School District. Other ideas that keep our schools under our ownership must be explored. There is no easy or cheap fix to the mold crisis. We will need to tighten our belts and refocus capital spending to our most important issue, which is maintaining safe functional schools for our children. Recouping revenue from other pet projects in the City and putting them on hold may be part of that answer. We need a serious long term plan that comes from all three boards.
I have already spoken to many of my fellow District 15 neighbors and told them I, and my running-mate, Carmine Tomas, plan to use a combination of monthly or quarterly email newsletters and social media posts to keep the district aware of upcoming issues and give summaries so residents do not have to spend hours reading over documents and agendas. I realize that folks may only be interested in specific issues, and I want to be able to offer them a condensed form of communication that keeps them informed to the level they want, yet doesn't take up too much time. This will obviously be a work in progress to strike the right balance of information. I realize too much information turns people off. With regard to the general public, I honestly feel that all information is pretty accessible to those who want it in the form of publicized agendas, documents and broadcasted videos, both live and archived, of all city board, committee and commission meetings.