All candidates for First Selectman, Board of Finance and Board of Education were invited to participate in this year’s Trumbull Times voters’ guide. Each candidate was asked to respond by October 30, and to keep each answer within a 75-word limit. Their answers appear here in the order in which their names appear on the ballot.

Further information about all the Democratic candidates running for local office in 2017 can be found at trumbulldemocrats.org. Further information about all the Republican candidates running for local office in 2017 can be found at LavoieForTrumbull.org. Michael Redgate’s campaign page is onetrumbull.org.

The candidates for First Selectman and Board of Finance were asked the following questions:


  1. What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?

  2. How will you balance the needs of the Town against the need to keep taxes steady?

  3. What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


Andrew Palo (D)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


Trumbull Republicans left a $2.8 million dollar hole in the budget. They borrowed from the rainy day fund and added revenue that has yet to be implemented. It is akin to a person borrowing money for their usual expenses and then wondering where the money will come from next month because they can’t borrow any more. Savings and efficiencies must and can be found that will help plug that hole.

How will you balance the needs of the Town against the need to keep taxes steady?


Keeping taxes low is the most critical job of the Board of Finance. It’s tough for many Trumbull residents to make ends meet; in my eight years of being an elected official, I have kept that in mind every time I placed a vote. There are savings that can be made, many of which Vicki Tesoro and I proposed which are listed in the minutes from the March 2017 meeting of the Board of Finance.

What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


Please take the time to go to the Town’s website and look at the Board of Finance’s minutes from March 2017. Vicki Tesoro and I motioned many cuts to the budget to confront both a State shortfall and the budget hole left by Trumbull Republicans. First, we must look at how much we spend in legal fees and second we need to evaluate departmental staffing to determine if they are at proper levels.


Marty Isaac (D)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


The budget. State budget issues will impact Trumbull (though recent votes in Hartford are encouraging), but worse, we also need to deal with a $2.8 mm shortfall caused by the current administration! The current budget uses a one-time gimmick to supplement town revenues by $1.8 mm and added a $1 mm garbage fee, that is essentially a tax to every household. I believe in sound budgeting and won’t allow this type of gamesmanship.

How will you balance the needs of the Town against the need to keep taxes steady?


Inclusive governance. I will ensure we keep our taxes steady; that’s the easy part. The hard part is deciding what does not get funded. We all may not agree on this list, but I will fight to ensure that all have a voice at the table. For example, I don’t think it’s right that we have spent nearly $2 mm on the proposed senior center/community center without a town wide referendum.

What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


Trumbull needs to reduce costs. For starters, I will fight to reduce bloat in the administrative office. Why are annual legal fees approaching $1 mm?! Why have we hired a Director of Labor Relations for a six figure salary on a six year contract?! Why do over 30 employees have vehicles paid for by the town? ! I think it’s outrageous and I will fight to fix this.


Lainie McHugh (D)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


Re-establish budgeting priorities that reflect true costs of maintaining public safety, vital services, and a strong education system are challenges. The Tesoro administration will focus on reducing unnecessary expenses while supporting ideas that bring new revenue and grand list growth. Team Tesoro will be transparent in the process and not rely on fiscal gimmicks such as new fees, and taking money from the general fund to do so.

How will you balance the needs of the town against the need to keep taxes steady?


By fully assessing the needs of the town not just for today, but also for the future to prioritize projects and spending. For example, in the Plan of Conservation and Development, a comprehensive facilities study was recommended. But the present administration pushed to move departments, build new facilities, and sell others without the due diligence of completing cost benefit analysis. Careful budgeting and planning of all projects will keep taxes stable.

What services if any would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


Reducing costs in areas that do not affect public safety, vital services, and students in the classroom would be my goal. This may include supporting exploration of regional efficiencies. This will include reducing non-essential take home vehicles; evaluations to maximize town investments and the interest on bank accounts, and savings through bond refinancing. I would look at existing programs to evaluate for efficiencies. This should be best practice at all times, not just this year.


Steve Choi (R)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


We are all aware of the financial situation our current governor has created. Unfortunately, these state level decisions have, and will continue, to have a negative impact on Trumbull. In the next two years, our town is preparing for the reduction of state aid. Trumbull will need to work more efficiently to offset the revenue shortfall. Trumbull, collectively, will need to review its municipal functions and how we can become more economical and financially prudent.

How will you balance the needs of the Town against the need to keep taxes steady?


Taxes are essential for any town, but they should never become so burdensome that it forces Trumbullites out of their homes. Since 2009, Trumbull has doubled its Commercial tax base, which ultimately equates to a lower financial burden on its residents. Prudent redevelopments and sustainable commercial growth will ensure modest tax increases while ensuring the town residents have all the services they need.

What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


Cutting town services is not a long term solution for the reduction on state aid. Trumbull should review all open agreements/contracts in attempts to reduce unnecessary spending or services that do not benefit Trumbullites. One idea is a coordinated effort with UI, in attempts to convert street lights to energy efficient, and longer life, LED. This would reduce our annual operating expenses. Reinvesting in our town, ensures our future is brighter, while more financially sustainable.