A Word From Our Chair
This is a great time to be a Democrat in New Milford.
In the past, we have largely been shut out of running the important boards and commissions that provide the backbone for keeping the town moving. These people – essential volunteers all – set or recommend policies that support our highly prized quality of life in New Milford.
Republicans – and their Unaffiliated friends – have dominated most of these boards for years. Now we can put our stamp on daily life in town.
You've undoubtedly read about how the Republican-led Sewer Commission sat by while a huge debt was piling up. You can help set policy to prevent that from happening again: There's an opening on the Commission.
You can help decide if the town is over or under-assessing property. There's an opening on the Board of Assessment Appeals (and it carries a small stipend.)
There are a number of other vacancies where you can help set policy for running New Milford. Please, if you are a Democrat, contact the Democratic Town Committee through this site; Unaffiliated voters, call or e-mail the mayor's office through newmilford.org
Andy Grossman Chair
New Milford Democratic Town Committee
Who We Are
We pledge to actively seek solutions to our town’s needs without placing an undue burden on taxpayers, especially those on fixed incomes. Rather than settling for less, we believe good government is about doing more with limited resources.
We believe that the local government has a responsibility to encourage business growth as well as preserve the historical and unique character of our town that will attract families to and keep families in New Milford. We believe in an inclusive government that seeks to improve the quality of life of all our citizens while working toward the greater good of our town.
We will strive to promote and preserve the sense of community that makes New Milford special as well as rise above partisanship to seek solutions that will lift us all. We feel that saying “It is not my job” is not an acceptable response to addressing the community’s needs.
In short, we promise to act in as responsive a manner as possible and to work toward solving New Milford’s problems in a transparent and cooperative spirit.
We love the Town of New Milford and believe young families and businesses will continue to move here and that our current population will thrive. As Democrats, we acknowledge the problems facing our town, but we are highly optimistic about the future. This belief sets the tone for all our policies and decisions in the future.
Long Term Planning For New MilfordThe Democratic Party will address the lack of long-term planning for New Milford. For too long the town has ignored the far-reaching implications of important issues -- such as the scope and types of development throughout town -- as well as matters of critical importance raised in the Plan of Conservation and Development. Instead of fashioning a vision for New Milford 2020, the town has dealt with problems in a haphazard, ad hoc manner.
In short, the town has neglected the critical issues that will face our town down the road.
We pledge to:
Create a blueprint for attracting new businesses to town while addressing the concerns of existing ones; for dealing with the glut of “For Sale” signs in our neighborhoods and vacant storefronts; for encouraging development that will add well-paying jobs and meaningful tax dollars in a way that does not detract from New Milford’s historic character and create unsightly sprawl.
Introduce smart growth to limit sprawl with intelligent long-term planning as well as preserve farmlands and other agricultural resources
Proactively seek light-industry and commercial businesses to take advantage of the prime but limited space New Milford has to offer. We believe town leaders need to take a greater role in promoting our town, especially in encouraging out-of-town businesses to relocate here.
Research options to improve the traffic flow in key areas of New Milford, which has become a serious public-safety hazard. We need to deal with such problems as the frequent accidents along Route 7 as well as congestion along pressure points elsewhere.
Revitalize the Housatonic River and stabilize flooding of Route 7 by exploring options specific to the Bleachery Dam.
Create an Architectural Review Board to preserve the character and historical origins of the community while ensuring the town stays current with the times.
Improved Quality Of Life For ResidentsCommitment to the Quality of Life of Family and Community
Haphazard planning and an emphasis on development at all costs are threatening the unique character and lifestyle of New Milford. Instead little attention has been given to preserving and improving the town’s quality of life. We prize a lifestyle that will keep New Milford an attractive place to live and believe that an enhanced quality of life is critical to attracting new businesses to town.
Openly and honestly address the issue of substance abuse among adults and teens, with a special emphasis on prevention by intervening in the schools from elementary through the high school grades. We call for aggressively pursuing high-level dealers, partly through the use of paid informants and by redirecting police resources toward heroin and other hard drugs. We should examine which approaches have proved effective in other towns and study their relevance to New Milford. For example, Gloucester, Mass., has adopted a policy of t...s among the lowest-spending towns in Connecticut. We pledge to maintain a consistent and direct conversation with residents, We also promise to review spending across the board to ensure your tax dollars are being spent in an effective manner and review whether the district can reduce its number of administrators.
Commit to providing more recreational facilities and outlets,. The best way to keep our children out of trouble is to keep them busy. For example, New Milford could badly use a public ice-skating rink, a facility that could attract people to town.
Protect Candlewood Lake as one of New Milford’s most important natural resources. Recent years have seen budget reductions for lake maintenance and preservation.
Renew our dedication to preserving the historical and unique character of the town by preventing historical buildings from being torn down and replaced by additional chain stores that generate only minimum-wage jobs with little contribution to our tax base.
Efficient Public ServicesWe believe that the erosion of vital public services has an adverse effect on the quality of life in New Milford, in attracting new businesses to town, and in keeping our current businesses strong. Failing to fix the dozens of potholes that strike down axles and ball joints represent a hidden tax to New Milford residents. Delaying essential road maintenance causes exponential increases in public works expenses in future years. The town's current policies are near-sighted solutions that serve to kick the can down the road and put a greater burden on taxpayers 10 years from now.
We pledge to:
Eliminate the use of police department salaries as negotiating tools to balance the budget, and provide officers with adequate resources to tackle the drug problem and other concerns.
The fire departments say one of their largest concerns is recruiting new members. We believe the town should play a greater leadership role in encouraging volunteers.
Foster Positive and Responsive RelationshipsFoster a Positive and Responsive Relationship Between New Milford Residents and Town Government.
The Democratic Party is committed to transparency as well as to encouraging open and honest dialogue. We note that almost 2,000 New Milford residents live at or below the poverty line and we believe the town should advocate for all citizens: rich, poor, and middle-class.
We have opposed the closing and sale of John Pettibone School since the earliest stages of the debate. Democratic Board of Education members voted against both the closing of the site and its sale to the town. We decry the underhanded, last-minute tactics method used by the board to dispose of the school as well as the board’s inadequate response to parental concerns over its closing. We endorse the sale of the East Street administration building and would move those offices and other agencies to Pettibone as a way of saving taxpayer funds.
We have supported Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House since the mayor called for its move to the outer reaches of town where residents would lack access to its vital services. We love the Town of New Milford and believe young families and businesses will continue to move here and that our current population will thrive. As Democrats, we acknowledge the problems facing our town, but we are highly optimistic about the future. This belief sets the tone for all our policies and decisions in the future.
Strong and Sensible Economic GrowthWe will work to attract small businesses and light industry that will bring meaningful gains to the town’s tax base instead of the big-box stores that only add to sprawl and traffic congestion. We oppose providing relocating businesses with a 100% tax incentive.
We will work to reverse years of neglect to the town's jewel of a waterfront that has been hamstrung by a lack of imagination, leadership and resources. We believe more needs to be done to make the area a vibrant attraction for town residents and out-of-towners alike We believe such a move will grow the town's entire economic pie and help merchants. For example, Tasty Waves could put a truck at the waterfront as could other eateries. We can consider relocating the Post Office along that area in order to free up parking needed to attract a viable tenant to the old CVS building on Main Street. We strongly endorse the extension of the Sega Meadows bike trail across New Milford as a major economic draw and a boon for the town’s quality of life.
Take an aggressive role in advocating for restoring passenger rail service to New Milford instead of taking the defeatist attitude that Hartford ignores Western Connecticut.\n\n• We oppose the move that allows Town Council to provide tax incentives of up to 100% to prospective new businesses as an unnecessary and wasteful giveaway. A Boston Federal Reserve Board study urges strong caution in using incentives and says they need to be done on a highly targeted basis. Taxes amount to a small fraction of most businesses' expenses.
Establish a better dialogue with businesses, many of whom feel their concerns are neglected. For example, a Democratic Town Hall will not conduct road construction along Main Street in May, the second busiest time of year for many downtown merchants.
Improve property values by improving the quality of life and providing efficient public services, such as eliminating potholes.