As stated in comments welcoming my opponent to the first selectman’s race, the community deserves a discussion on the issues. I was hopeful that the dialogue would be constructive and factually based; unfortunately that appears to not be the case. With so many “alternative facts” coming out of Washington, D.C., please allow me to get the discussion back on track here in New Canaan.
My opponent states that if he were first selectman, he would follow Greenwich’s lead as Greenwich “just appropriated money to market their town.”
Here are the facts:
Greenwich is only six years behind New Canaan. Upon taking office, I personally created a line item in our annual budget for Economic Development. As a local businessman and landlord, I felt it imperative to demonstrate to those investing in New Canaan that they had a partner. This fund has helped pay for marketing efforts with the Chamber of Commerce, a website, various community outreach events such as the broadcasting of the World Cup and Olympic sporting events in the pop-up park. The fund is also paying for the upcoming June 15th family concert on the Town Hall lawn—an effort to draw attention to the parking, stores and restaurants in that area of town.
As a member of Town Council who votes on the annual budget, I am somewhat surprised my opponent wasn’t aware of this effort. I know our local businesses have appreciated it.
My opponent is critical of our finances and financial management. While there is always room for improvement in all facets of running a business or a municipality, he fails to recognize the following:
We continue to be the envy of our peers and the gold standard for responsible fiscal management. A byproduct of such is the confidence shown by the newly formed volunteer organizations such as the Waveny Conservancy and New Canaan Athletic Foundation who have invested millions of dollars in a public-private partnership with the town to improve our treasured passive and active recreation assets and lessen the burden on our tax payers.
Some highlights of our town finances:
- AAA-rated by Moody’s Investor Services; the highest rating possible
- An over-funded pension fund and, thanks to my efforts, pension distributions controlled by a committee not by a town employee
- OPEB liabilities addressed on an annual basis
- Highest tax collection rate in all of Connecticut
- Board of Selectmen appointed Audit Committee fully involved and instituting world- class processes to improve the finance department function and internal controls across all of our departments
- Repeated material weaknesses in our annual audit have been highlighted and elevated by the Audit Committee. An example of our system of review, checks and balances working
- Improved financial reporting and transparency thanks to the purchase of the Munis financial accounting software package
Working with other mayors and first selectman
My opponent believes that I need to work more with area mayors and first selectmen on state issues. That would be difficult given the extent of my work with my fellow CEO’s currently. Here are the facts:
- I have been unanimously elected by all mayors and first selectmen in Fairfield County to serve as the Vice Chairman of our Metropolitan Planning Organization. The MPO is the conduit for all state funding of transportation and many infrastructure pass-through grants to Fairfield County towns and cities
- I have been unanimously elected by the same Fairfield County group of mayors and first selectmen to represent them on our regional security organization- The Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
- I meet monthly with 2 groups of regional mayors and first selectmen (18 CEO’s) as a Council of Governments to discuss, review and vote on a myriad of state issues directly related to our region.
Initiated the effort for New Canaan to re-join the Connecticut Council of Munipalities, partnering with the mayors and first selectmen in using the resources offered by this major lobbying and informational source to fight the nonsense coming down from Hartford.
Lets continue the dialogue (but please stick to the facts).
Robert E. Mallozzi III