Q: The Town Council was recently taken by surprise regarding the arbitration award from the Lakeview Avenue Bridge litigation. As a Town Council member, what would you do individually to prevent something like that from happening again?

A: In order to help prevent future misappropriation of town funds by our elected officials, I would seek a mandatory monthly update on exact overages and deviations from the approved town budget from the first selectman, the town treasurer, as well as an appointed representative from the Board of Finance. These conversations and reviews would happen before the entire Town Council, not just a select few. The submitted updates would become public record as part of the meeting minutes. It's actually in the power of the Town Council as a whole, rather than just a select few, that it is most effective in steering through the most difficult issues facing the town.

Q: A few months ago, when dealing with road paving and sidewalks, Town Council had a discussion regarding bonding versus budgeting. When do you feel it is appropriate to borrow money and when is it appropriate to place it in the budget?

A: Inevitably, the town will face items, such as road paving or a town hall renovation, that will require a bond be issued to pay for the work. Those are "need to have" items that are required to keep our town functioning properly. What the town needs to be careful of is spending bonded money on the "nice to have" items, such as sidewalks -- especially with inaccurate and incomplete information on the scope and cost impact of such a project. The Town Council should have rejected the whole request right from the start until an accurate cost was developed.

Additionally, better planning for future work should be considered. Instead of issuing road paving bonds that were approved at $2 million per year for 2011 and 2012, to pave roads that should have been addressed years ago, the paving work should have been spaced out, with a larger contribution within the annual town budget for the last five to seven years.

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