Town Council Roger Williams Q&A
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: I believe this problem stems from a practice of operating behind closed doors in our town government. This must stop as elected officials are here to do the people's business and must do that in full and complete openness. If elected, I can promise that I will make sure that all activities that I am involved with are transparent for the voters of this town. We cannot afford to have a few elected officials keep public matters from the public for the sake of a political agenda. In this case, the judgment was kept from the public and the full Town Council until the current budget was approved. This is inexcusable, as the knowledge about this amount owed by the town would have impacted the current budget process and ultimately, our tax rates.
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?
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A: A lot has been said recently about "Generational Bonding," a new term used to justify putting a further debt burden on the taxpayers for years to come. I disagree with categorizing capital spending in this manner. Typically, if an item or expenditure has a long life, you may consider using bonds as a method for funds. However, you must also consider the total current debt load on the town and the reasonableness of continuing to increase that debt ceiling. As we now face the highest debt per capita of our peers (almost $7,000 per man, woman and child in New Canaan), we must take a close and hard look at our payment alternatives (i.e., operating cash vs. long-term debt) before we put any further debt burdens on our taxpayers.