Republican nominee for first selectman Mike Herbst fired the first shots of the 2019 campaign on Monday, criticizing First Selectman Vicki Tesoro over the town’s sewer rates.

“Two years ago, as a candidate for first selectman, Mrs. Tesoro criticized our sewer use rates,” Herbst said in a written statement. “Two years later, she has done virtually nothing to come up with a viable alternative.”

Trumbull currently has a contract with Bridgeport to send sewage to Bridgeport’s waste water treatment plant. In 2017 Tesoro was critical of the fact that sewer rates had increased 37 percent since 2010.

“If Mrs. Tesoro had such a problem with these sewer use rates as a candidate for first selectman, why, over the last two years, has she done virtually nothing to come up with a plan?” he said. “The contract with Bridgeport is a ticking time bomb and if we don’t have leaders working towards common sense solutions, Trumbull sewer rates will continue to rise. If you are going to criticize something and make it a part of your platform to score political points, you have an obligation to follow through on your campaign rhetoric.”

Tesoro said she was not surprised by the criticism, though she did find it amusing that the current sewer contract had been negotiated by former First Selectman Tim Herbst, the son of Mike Herbst.

“We have been working diligently on the issue, but we are locked into our current contract until 2022,” Tesoro said.

She also chided her Herbst for criticizing her handling of this particular situation.

“I’ve only been in office 18 months,” she said. “I haven’t had time to fix all of the mistakes his son made in eight years.”

Herbst said that if elected he would look to regionalize with other adjoining towns, possibly splitting the town into east and west sides, in partnership with Stratford and Fairfield.

“The Bridgeport contract, if left to be renegotiated again, will cause our sewer rates to continue to rise,” he said. “When I am elected first selectman, I will work with our neighbors in Stratford and Fairfield to develop a plan to deal with this issue in a meaningful way with the hopes of stabilizing and reducing our sewer use rates. It won’t be easy, but it takes leaders that get to work once an election is over.”