Like many towns in Connecticut, candidates for office in Wethersfield are focusing on offsetting the impact of the state budget on town residents.
Democrats, who have held the majority for two years, proposed sharing services with the board of education and attracting new business to the Silas Deane Highway.
Mayor Paul Montinieri and Deputy Mayor Steve Barry are not seeking re-election. Incumbent council members Amy Morrin Bello, Anthony Spinella and Tony Martino will lead the slate with newcomers Mary Breton, Ken Lesser and Matthew Forrest filling it out.
“The town will need to search for ways to do more with less," Bello said. “Additionally, elected officials and town staff must continue working to promote the town to the business community in order to cultivate additional economic growth.”
Breton said the next two years will be challenging for the town as it navigates how to keep services with a responsible budget.
“We know there will be challenges, such as managing a fiscally responsible budget with potential budget cuts, while maintaining a vibrant and safe community,” she said. “I am joining a team that has a proven track record of experience in facing tough decisions in a thoughtful, creative and collaborative manner.”
On the board of education side, Democrats are fielding incumbents Elaine Paradise, Kevin Hill and Polly Moon, alongside newcomer Ginger McCurdy.
A chief concern of the board, Moon said, is keeping the budget process transparent.
“We have to continue to make the budget process more transparent by encouraging council and community input through workshops and monthly reporting, she said. “BOE members of both parties must remain committed to developing responsible budgets that we all can support.”
On the Republican slate, incumbent council members Mike Hurley, Mike Rell and Jodi Latina will run. Stathis Manousos, a former councilman, and newcomers Tom Mazzarella and Mary Pelletier will also run.
Republicans are looking to win back a majority with a promise of judicious spending.
“We need to look out over the next 10 years and project Wethersfield’s financial condition and make the structural changes needed to preserve the way of life that Wethersfield residents deserve," Hurley said.
Rell said Republicans would continue a track record of making decisions with Wethersfield’s fiscal health in mind.
“In the spring, I along with fellow Republicans on the town council raised a red flag and said that the state’s shaky fiscal footing could possibly be a challenge to our town,” he said. “Despite those warnings, a budget that raised spending and taxes was adopted.”
Pelletier said that making sure taxes were kept in check would be paramount, if elected.
“Wethersfield has dramatically increased its spending in recent years, which has left us with one of the highest mill rates in the state for a town our size,” she said. “The challenge for the next town council is to maintain services while making the necessary decisions to live within our means. We should not borrow money and leave the bills for our children to pay.”
On the board of education side, Republicans are running incumbents John Cascio and Lew Michaels, with newcomers Charles Carey and Chris Healy.
A third-party led by Paul Copp will also be on the ballot. The Independence Party will feature Copp for mayor and John Console for deputy mayor.
Copp said the party plans to focus on financial issues, particularly transparency with where taxpayer money is being spent.