Engel announces New Canaan BOS bid
"I decided to run for the office of Selectman after encouragement from a variety of people in town," Engel said. "Realtors in town were particularly supportive. These 300 members of the New Canaan Board of Realtors represent one of New Canaan's largest industries and they really have their finger on the pulse of this community. Realtors are always talking to people about New Canaan, promoting our town, what makes it great and the realtors are the first to recognize where we need improvement because it reflects in our home values."
He added that members of Staying Put in New Canaan and the Rotary Club have been equally supportive.
"Staying Put has been at the forefront of the dialogue with the town over senior housing needs and that's exciting," Engel said. "The Rotary Club is a fantastic group of residents many of whom have lived here for more than 50 years and I am always learning something new about New Canaan at our meetings."
Engel has lived in New Canaan for 32 years.
"I am a husband, son and father of four, a realtor, a small businessman, a veteran and a Rotarian." Engel said. "I am a product of New Canaan's excellent school system. I left briefly to serve in the Army and returned to raise a family here. My parents live here. I am a father of four children in the school system now. I am passionate about New Canaan, and intensely interested in making sure that the qualities that make it special for me are there for my family in the future."
A current and founding member of the board of Staying Put in New Canaan, Engel went on to say, "My parents sold their house and moved to a condo near town. Like many seniors they want to live within walking distance of our vibrant and alive downtown New Canaan. I am at an age where my friends and New Canaan High School classmates are just beginning to understand the needs our parents generation and how can we help them stay in New Canaan and have the best possible quality of living. Our town's population is aging and we have to address this issue. Preserving our town's character with an emphasis on keeping our seniors is one of the most important opportunities New Canaan is facing now and over the next 30 years. In the Waveny Care Network, the Getabout, Staying Put, Lapham and the myriad of other services for seniors we are the community of choice for seniors. But, we can do better."
Engel also mentioned his concern about New Canaan's financial situation a top priority in his campaign.
"We have been fortunate that our town departments and the services they provide our residents are second to none. As a result of the sudden and drastic economic downturn, there are many people suffering in this town. When the real estate market slows down to a trickle and people can't sell their homes we are all affected. There are vacancies in the downtown for the first time in a generation, residents have lost much of the equity in their homes, and the job market is soft. We as a town must face the reality that for at least the near future, state aid and other sources of revenue are going to be tight, requiring us to balance the needs and wants of our community with our current and future fiscal situation. I am pleased that both announced candidates for First Selectman have adopted a fiscally conservative position toward the budget. Right now we have the third lowest MIL rate in the county behind Greenwich and Darien but every increase to property taxes is tough on residents, especially those on a fixed income. We can do better. I'd like to see the innovation in Town Hall that drives that MIL rate down below that of Darien, lowering our real estate taxes as a percentage of real estate value over time."
As a Realtor in town, a commercial and residential landlord, Engel appreciates the town's charm.
"Our Village is one of New Canaan's greatest assets, the center of caroling on God's Acre, the Memorial Day Parade, the Holiday Stroll and the Sidewalk Sale, the Farmer's Market, and countless other events that bring us together as a community," he said. "We shop here, we eat here, we really live here. This is not accidental. It's taken a conscious effort by town hall and the citizens of New Canaan to install the brick sidewalks, preserve the movie theater and save the New Canaan Bookstore, the effect of which has been tremendous and long-lasting on the downtown. However, we can do better. Now, faced with vacancies in the downtown for the first time in a generation I'd like to work on initiatives which promote that dialogue between our downtown study group, landlords and merchants, members of the New Canaan Board of Realtors, and the members and leadership of our Chamber of Commerce."
Visit Engel's website at www.johnengel.com.