FULL TEXT — Lavoie touts competition to grow Grand List

Paul Lavoie
Paul Lavoie

When voters go to the polls on November 7th, not only will they be selecting a new First Selectman, they will also be selecting the person who will be responsible for promoting the Town of Trumbull to potential businesses, entrepreneurs and families. In order to continue with a stable and predictable tax rate for Trumbull residents, we must continue to grow our commercial Grand List. As a former executive and business owner, I am intimately aware of the needs of small businesses and what local communities can do to attract those small businesses to invest in Trumbull’s future.

Among the hot topics this election year is the lack of development and vitality of Trumbull Center. While I have heard the other candidates speak to wanting to revitalize Trumbull Center, I have not heard any ideas on how to accomplish it. Unfortunately, Trumbull Center is privately owned and a first selectman has no ability to force a private property owner to undergo expensive renovations or upgrades. Therefore, if any candidate claims they will “revitalize” Trumbull Center, the follow-up question has to be: how?

So how do we do it? By creating competition. Over the past few years, the Republican administration and Town of Trumbull Economic Development Department has made a concerted effort to attract more businesses to Trumbull by way of smaller village-style developments. This out of the box type of thinking has seen these developments pop up all over town, such as the Madison Village development, Long Hill Green Development and the plaza on Route 111. By creating a business climate where business owners WANT to invest, and helping to locate alternative sites for potential retail, restaurant and business use, Trumbull is creating competition that will ultimately force Trumbull Center’s owners to evolve or be left behind. Not only do these new village-style developments fit into the character of the neighborhoods, they also cater to millennials and other new potential home buyers. One of the major shifts in real estate over the past few years has been a focus on walkability and integration; being able to park and go to the store, a restaurant, and the Pequonnock Valley Trail all in one afternoon is key selling point in attracting people to invest in Trumbull.

While some candidates have argued that the best way to spur economic development is to change our zoning regulations to increase the permitted height of buildings in town, the truth is, no developer has asked Trumbull to increase its height limitations. The solution put forward is to a problem that doesn’t exist. By contrast, increasing competition is the way to create change in the market. Since 2009, dining options in Trumbull have grown exponentially. Just imagine Trumbull hosting its own Restaurant Week and you being able to walk to dinner to enjoy a night out with your family!

We need to stop focusing on solutions of the past to fix the problems of tomorrow. We need forward thinking leaders who understand that by first creating a stable tax environment, and combining that with smart strategic planning geared towards walkable village districts, Trumbull’s future will be bright. I am the only candidate who has dealt with these issues as both an elected official and a businessman and my team and I are ready to continue the progress that has been made over the last several years.