March 28, 2017 Thank you very much: It is indeed my honor and my privilege to appear before you this afternoon to deliver\u00a0my eighth State of the Town Address as First Selectman of the Town of Trumbull. Leading this community for the last eight years has been the honor of a lifetime and I am\u00a0both honored and humbled to lead the best Town in America. For more than 30 years, the Greater Bridgeport Regional Business Council has\u00a0been a partner with the Town of Trumbull in promoting business expansion opportunity\u00a0and economic development. As this organization seeks to rebrand itself and better\u00a0promote economic development in our region, I could not be more pleased with the recent\u00a0selection of Mickey Herbert to serve as President and CEO of the BRBC. Mickey, onnbehalf of the Town of Trumbull I offer you my sincere congratulations and I look forward\u00a0to working with you. I also want to thank the staff here at Tashua Knolls Golf Course as well as the\u00a0Trumbull Golf Commission for the incredible work they do every day to keep this facility\u00a0in top shape. This is truly one of Trumbull\u2019s treasures. If you have not heard yet, we are\u00a0in for June Madness here in Trumbull. For the first time in the 115 year history of\u00a0Connecticut Amateur Championship, the event will be held at a public golf course and the\u00a0Connecticut State Golf Association chose Tashua Knolls. Our economy will benefit from\u00a0the hundreds of people who will visit Trumbull the week of June 19-23rd. In preparing this address for this afternoon, I had the occasion to review my first\u00a0State of the Town Address in March of 2010. At that time, I was 29 years old and barely\u00a0completed my first 100 days in office. The country was beginning to emerge from the\u00a0Great Recession. Taxes increased 54% in the eight years preceding my term. Borrowing\u00a0more than doubled during that same time. Seniors were finding it harder and harder to\u00a0stay in Trumbull. Our Grand List was going down instead of up. Trumbull didn\u2019t have full\u00a0day kindergarten and our elementary and middle schools were in dire need of critical\u00a0capital investment. My administration faced an anticipated $3 million dollar revenue\u00a0shortfall with a $1.7 million dollar shortfall for the current fiscal year budget. The town\u2019s\u00a0pension system was only funded at 27%, with years of can kicking and lack of proper\u00a0funding. Two of the largest public sector capital projects in the Town\u2019s history, totaling\u00a0over $100 million dollars were in progress and wrought with mismanagement. Eight years ago, as we met these challenges, I said this: \u201cWhile we get less help\u00a0from the state and federal government we must also deal with the costs of unfunded\u00a0mandates, contractual obligations, inflation, bonded indebtedness and general operation\u00a0and maintenance of our town. Through all of the inadequacies and poor decisions that\u00a0have been levied upon us at the local level to solve, I have learned an important lesson. We can depend on no one but ourselves and we must empower ourselves to take action.\u00a0Never has this been more true than right now, as we brace for the challenges of a state\u00a0budget mired in perpetual fiscal crisis. As I reflect on the past eight years and as we go forward, I am reminded of the\u00a0words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, \u201cOur very survival depends on our ability to\u00a0stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.\u201d Indeed, these last eight years we have faced challenged with change - - fundamental\u00a0change that has made Trumbull a better place to live, work and raise a family. Action we\u00a0took and change we brought. I often tell people that the R next to my name doesn\u2019t relate to a political party. The\u00a0R stands for Reform. Reform is defined as making changes in order to make something\u00a0better. I want to take this opportunity to thank the dedicated town employees who work\u00a0with me every single day. My senior staff: Maria Pires, John Marsilio, Jim Haselkamp,\u00a0Rina Bakalar, Lynn Arnow and Michael Lombardo are the A-TEAM. Our department\u00a0heads are among the best and the brightest. Our employees in every division are among\u00a0the most committed and hard working. These are the people that have been the change\u00a0agents and foot soldiers of reform. I believe in all of my heart that the key to a well-managed community is one that is\u00a0relevant for the future. Eight years ago I spoke about the three pillars - - Strong Finances,\u00a0Strong Schools and a Strong Quality of Life. Our commitment to a sustainable community\u00a0was rooted in the vision of those three pillars. I believed that if those three pillars served\u00a0as our guiding light, there was no limitation to what we could accomplish and no limitation\u00a0to how Trumbull could become a model community in Connecticut. A well-managed\u00a0community is one where we keep our taxes low, invest in our schools, grow our economy\u00a0and protect our citizens. Action we took and change we brought. Today, I am pleased to report that the\u00a0State of Trumbull is strong and growing stronger every single day. Our three pillars are\u00a0the bedrock of who we are as a people. I am proud that we have delivered two tax reductions in the last eight years and\u00a0we did this while investing more money in public education, public safety and our\u00a0infrastructure. By making tough choices we have balanced every budget. Today, Trumbull\u2019s budgets are more stable now than they were eight years ago,\u00a0with an average annual tax increase of only 1.65% over the last 7 years. Our tax rate is\u00a0now among the most stable and predictable in all of Fairfield County. While we have kept\u00a0the tax rate stable, we took note of our most cherished and vulnerable and were able to\u00a0double senior citizen tax relief. While keeping the tax rate stable, we have still invested 46 million additional dollars\u00a0into our pension fund. Today, Town and Police pensions are funded at 56% and climbing. We have brought operational and legislative reform that now guarantees that we fund the\u00a0annual required contribution for our pensions. Traditional pension plans have been\u00a0closed for all new employees. We have diversified our investment strategy. We have maintained a healthy rainy day fund. The town employee headcount is\u00a0less than when I took office eight years ago. Steady and solid financial management has\u00a0resulted in Trumbull\u2019s credit rating being upgraded - - one step away from the coveted\u00a0Triple AAA. The Trumbull High School renovation was completed on time and under\u00a0budget. Two large sewer projects we inherited were completed with professional\u00a0management oversight that avoided the mistakes of the past. Through Charter Revision,\u00a0we have implemented debt and spending reform. Capital projects that now require\u00a0borrowing of more than $15 million dollars go directly to the people for approval. The tax rate has remained stable because in spite of the Great Recession and a\u00a0state economy that lags behind the rest of the nation, our economy and our Grand List\u00a0has grown each of the last eight years. In every corner of our community, we can see\u00a0this transformation with our own eyes. When I took office, our commercial Grand List\u00a0stood at a mere 14% of our total Grand List. Today it stands at 23% and is growing every\u00a0year. Our economic development renaissance has flourished for the benefit of all of our\u00a0people. We have seen a great deal of positive activity in our corporate community this year\u00a0with more to come. Cooper Surgical has completed its 250,000 square foot expansion\u00a0on Corporate Drive. We are thrilled to have Henkel Corporation, which recently acquired\u00a0Sun Products, expanding their corporate presence on Trefoil Drive. They will invest\u00a0approximately $20,000,000 to renovate 4 Trefoil Drive bringing 30-40 new high wage jobs\u00a0to our Town. Our Trumbull Corporate Park is seeing marked increases in occupancy. 35\u00a0Nutmeg Drive is full; we want to welcome CompHealth to Trumbull from Norwalk. They\u00a0will bring 59 new jobs with them. Kone Elevator is moving into 60 Commerce Drive in\u00a0the Corporate Park and we would like to welcome them to Town as well. We appreciate\u00a0all of our businesses and we are here to support them every day. Our Village Districts are evolving. The new developments at Long Hill Green and\u00a0Madison Village are fully occupied. I am thrilled that many of the new businesses are\u00a0owned by Trumbull residents. We hope everyone will continue to support and enjoy the\u00a0restaurants, shops and amenities that have flourished in our town these last few years. As we watch the circus that is unfolding in Hartford and as we respond to cuts to\u00a0municipal aid and our schools, it becomes even more important to grow our tax base and\u00a0develop revenue to fund critical town services. We are placing enhanced focus on our\u00a0underperforming properties in Town in order to support their productive reuse and grand\u00a0list growth while maintaining the character of our Town. We want to ease the burden on\u00a0our residential properties to the greatest degree possible. We are investing in additional planning work in order to be prepared for the\u00a0demands of a 21st century community. We will be facilitating additional planning for the\u00a0Long Hill Green Area, the area will undergo additional redevelopment soon and we want\u00a0to engage business owners and residents in the enhancement of the area. Planning and\u00a0Zoning will be overhauling regulations this year and they kicked off work on a housing\u00a0incentive zone in order to get ahead of housing development and diversification. We also\u00a0intend to identify resources for a complete pedestrian and bicycle master plan for our\u00a0Town. We have many other exciting developments coming including the long awaited\u00a0expansion of the Trumbull Mall. Trumbull is the place of choice right now and we have to\u00a0keep this positive momentum moving in the right direction. The stability we have created,\u00a0the excellent schools and services we offer make Trumbull a community of choice for\u00a0residents and businesses as verified by the significant investments and interest we are\u00a0seeing in our Town. Toward that end, our school system is a tremendous point of pride for our\u00a0community and I want to thank Dr. Cialfi and all of our administrators and teachers for\u00a0their outstanding work. Recognizing the importance of early childhood intervention, in\u00a02012 we implemented full day kindergarten and the results have built a strong foundation\u00a0that is making our school system stand out above the rest. Over the past 3 years, the CT State Department of Education (CSDE) has cited\u00a0every one of Trumbull\u2019s elementary schools, middle schools and high school as a\u00a0\u201cConnecticut School of Distinction.\u201d Realtor.com has ranked Trumbull Public Schools in\u00a0the top ten of the \u201cmost in demand\u201d school districts in the nation. Trumbull is the only\u00a0school district in Fairfield County to be ranked in the top 10 nationally. The 2017 CSDE\u00a0Accountability Report, the \u201creport card\u201d for Connecticut\u2019s 200 public school districts, ranks\u00a0Trumbull as the Number 2 K-12 school district in the entire state, just behind only Darien. The Class of 2016 was admitted to 42 colleges and universities ranked by Barron\u2019s\u00a0Profile of American Colleges as \u201cMost Competitive\u201d, including 9 Ivy League Colleges. One only look at our real estate market here in Trumbull as proof of how people want to\u00a0live here and make the long term investment in Trumbull. Currently while there are 408\u00a0homes on the market in Fairfield, there are only 104 homes on the market in Trumbull. Families are not only coming to Trumbull, but making the long term investment to stay\u00a0here. In Trumbull, we have one of the highest achieving school districts in the state at a\u00a0more affordable cost. There is no doubt in my mind that the state of our school system\u00a0is stronger now than at any other time in our Town\u2019s history. I want to thank our\u00a0hardworking teachers and administrators for their commitment to excellence day in and\u00a0day out. A quality school system is augmented by a superior public safety in our schools\u00a0and in our community. Under the leadership of Chief Lombardo, in 2016, we placed our\u00a0first School Resource Officer in Trumbull High School in over 12 years. A second officer\u00a0is planned to begin at Madison Middle School on April 1, 2017 and the third at Hillcrest\u00a0Middle School in September. Community involvement and community presence has increased among our patrol\u00a0division. We have recruited and hired qualified minority and female candidates. Of the\u00a0seven officers hired this past year, one was Hispanic and two were females. We continue\u00a0to move closer towards becoming a state accredited police department. During calendar\u00a0year 2016, we successfully regionalized our traffic enforcement efforts with the cities and\u00a0towns of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe and Stratford. When the people of Trumbull put their head on the pillow at night, they should rest\u00a0easy knowing that Chief Michael Lombardo and the hard working men and women of the\u00a0Trumbull Police Department work every day to keep our community safe. They should\u00a0know that we have fire departments and emergency medical services second to none. Financial reform, pension reform, debt and spending reform, educational reform,\u00a0economic development reform and public safety reform have been the hallmarks of this\u00a0administration. As I have reflected upon the last eight years, I should note that others\u00a0have taken notice of the high quality community Trumbull has become. In 2011, Family Circle Magazine ranked Trumbull the 7th best town in the nation to\u00a0raise a family In 2012, we were ranked the 2nd best town in the state for young families In 2014, we were ranked the fourth safest community in Connecticut In 2015, Trumbull\u2019s public school teachers ranked in the top twenty school districts\u00a0in the state In 2016, the Government Finance Office Association credited Trumbull\u2019s Finance\u00a0Department with excellence in financial reporting; And at the end of 2016, Realtor.com ranked Trumbull 10th nationally as the most\u00a0in demand school district I am proud of our accomplishments, but we have more work to do. A 21st century\u00a0 community requires modern amenities; Residents want to see hubs of social, cultural,\u00a0 business and recreational experiences. We can accomplish this type of transformation\u00a0 while maintaining those things that have always made Trumbull such a special place, but\u00a0 it will require change and strategic investment. This afternoon, I wish to communicate to the people of this community my highest\u00a0priority for 2017 and that is to commence construction of a new multigenerational\u00a0community center. We in government must be clarifiers and truth tellers. When the\u00a0elephant fights, the grass gets trampled. We have an obligation to invest in our community\u00a0in a bipartisan way rather than engaging in myopic parochial exercises of partisanship. Real leaders are those that are focused on the next generation rather than the next\u00a0election. What we do today is important, but what we leave behind is even more\u00a0important. Every generation since our incorporation in 1797 has contributed to developing\u00a0Trumbull\u2019s infrastructure and amenities with an eye toward the future. First Selectman\u00a0Heimann saw this vision when we built our schools, our corporate parks and this golf\u00a0course. First Selectman Butler saw this when we built our emergency medical services\u00a0center. First Selectman Timpanelli saw this when we built our Police Department. First\u00a0Selectman Vance saw this when we acquired the Pequonnock River Valley. First\u00a0Selectman Wilson saw this vision when we made capital investments in our park systems.\u00a0First Selectman Halaby saw this when we proceeded with the construction of Frenchtown\u00a0Elementary School. First Selectman Baldwin saw this when we built the Early Childhood\u00a0Learning Center and renovated Trumbull High School. And I see this today with the\u00a0construction of a state of the art community center. Over the last seventeen years, residents have consistently expressed support for a\u00a0community center in our Town. Regularly, various civic groups reach out to the town\u00a0seeking space to host meetings, events and programs that benefit our residents. With\u00a0limited community space available, it has been difficult to accommodate these groups. We also know that young people benefit and thrive when they are connected to positive\u00a0activities in their community. Residents are reaching out and demonstrating an increased\u00a0demand for an indoor community pool. The 2014 Plan of Conservation and Development indicated that the construction of a\u00a0new community center was the highest priority for Trumbull over the next ten years. Trumbull\u2019s high credit rating allows us to borrow at near record low interest rates. In a town that is 98% developed, it will not get easier or less expensive to build a Trumbull\u00a0Community Center in the future. We have an opportunity to do something very special\u00a0for our community, and if we work together we can do it without significant cost to Trumbull\u00a0residents. We are exploring the sale of outdated, underutilized properties. Properties that\u00a0are not on the tax rolls, that are costly to maintain and do not offer the kind of facility the\u00a0Town will require in the future. There has been some rumbling to the effect that sales are\u00a0imminent or neighborhoods will be besieged with inappropriate redevelopment\u2014NOT\u00a0TRUE. We are early in the process, the Town will secure brokers to assist with any\u00a0potential property sales and the Town will seek to control the redevelopment in such a\u00a0way as to be a win-win for taxpayers and neighborhoods. It is important to note here today, with regard to leveraging efficiencies and revenue,\u00a0the Town has the opportunity to net between 8.5-9.5 million from the sale of the properties\u00a0and realize tax revenues in excess of $600,000 per year. These numbers are\u00a0conservative and do not account for other operational efficiencies and savings in building\u00a0carrying costs from six underutilized properties. I encourage everyone to join me in\u00a0thinking and acting for our future. We have the opportunity to construct a sustainable\u00a0community asset that marks a special place in our Town for all to share. An asset that\u00a0will continue to distinguish our community, much like Tashua Knolls does, much like our\u00a0excellent schools do, as a community of choice for the future. As I reflect upon the last eight years, I look at all of this positive transformation.\u00a0Working together, I can say with full faith and confidence that Trumbull is better and\u00a0stronger now than it was eight years ago. While the Town of Trumbull is at the top of\u00a0virtually every list, it pains me to see the state I was born and raised in at the bottom of\u00a0every list. It pains me to see millennials like me leaving our state in record numbers.\u00a0Connecticut has earned an appalling reputation. We are \u201cstill\u201d in many categories. We still have not recovered from the Recession We still are not growing our population. For the third straight year our population\u00a0has shown steady decline We still are hostile to businesses and job creators We still are not growing businesses We still are not properly funding our pensions Again and again, we still increase unfunded mandates Again and again, we are still making drastic cuts to municipal aid that impact our\u00a0children and their futures We are still reducing vital services at the same time our taxes and cost of living\u00a0continue to go up Connecticut has been still for far too long. In fact, our state is in perpetual fiscal crisis.\u00a0 The budget currently under consideration is a full frontal assault on well managed\u00a0 municipalities with high achieving school districts. The good people of Connecticut\u00a0 deserve better. Eight years ago, I sought this office to ensure that the reality of Trumbull lived up to\u00a0the promise of Trumbull. My ultimate mission was to leave Trumbull better than I found.\u00a0I am confident that we have accomplished that mission. I want us to do for Connecticut what we have done here in Trumbull. As the son of a\u00a0football coach, I have learned throughout my life that in order to move the chains down\u00a0the field and achieve progress, it doesn\u2019t happen by sitting idly by on the sidelines. You\u00a0need to put on your helmet and shoulder pads, take action and get in the game. I intend\u00a0to take that action. I feel a moral obligation to step up and get in the game. In the coming\u00a0weeks and months, I look forward to telling the people of this great state of how the reality\u00a0of Connecticut can live up to the promise of Connecticut. Connecticut is ready for high\u00a0standards and new leaders that are willing to make the tough decisions and bring the\u00a0reform to get us back on track. Wherever I go and whatever I do, the highest honor I have ever held is being called\u00a0citizen of the Town of Trumbull. And Trumbull is made great by our people. At this time,\u00a0it is my honor to award this year\u2019s recipients of the 2017 Clarence Heimann Leadership\u00a0Award. Named after our former First Selectman, this award is given each year to a\u00a0Trumbull resident or Trumbull employee who demonstrates leadership and self-sacrifice. The first recipient was named the first Director of Labor Relations for the Town of\u00a0Trumbull three years ago and he has been a positive force in helping the Town of\u00a0Trumbull. As a result of his efforts, last year the Town of Trumbull converted its health\u00a0care coverage, saving over $3 million dollars and providing even greater health care for\u00a0our Town and Board of Education employees. Please join me in congratulating Jim\u00a0Haselkamp. The next two recipients work with me everyday and have worked so hard to assist the\u00a0Town in the construction of a new community center. From identifying a site on Church\u00a0Hill Road to working with the building committee and architects, this project would not be\u00a0where it is but for their efforts. They work hard for our Town and I am proud of both of\u00a0them. Are next two recipients are my Chief of Staff, Lynn Arnow and our Economic and\u00a0Community Development, Rina Bakalar. I used to think I had the toughest job in Trumbull. That was before I asked Joe Pifko\u00a0and Dan Marconi to serve as the Co-Chairs of the Community Center Building Committee. These dedicated volunteers have worked hard for all of you to give our town the 21st\u00a0century facility we truly deserve. The next recipient of the Clarence Heimann Leadership\u00a0award is the entire membership of the Community Center Building Committee. Accepting\u00a0on their behalf is my friend, Joe Pifko. Our next recipient is an 8th grade student at Hillcrest Middle School and the youngest\u00a0recipient to date. This student was being bullied every day through social media and at\u00a0school. To overcome the bullying, she realized that students need to speak out about\u00a0bullying from other students. This student decided to take action and started the Words\u00a0Can Soar Initiative. A student of the arts she realized that she can spread her message\u00a0through the arts. She wrote the song, The Choices You Make Today Will Pave the Way,\u00a0which won at the L.A. Critics\u2019 Awards. She started to speak about these issues in the\u00a0classrooms and organized anti-bulling events. She has raised more than $5,000 for her\u00a0anti-bullying efforts. Based on her efforts to combat bullying Hillcrest Middle School, in\u00a0May she will represent Trumbull and the State of Connecticut as a State Honoree at the\u00a0102 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. It is with great pleasure that I present the\u00a0Clarence F. Heimann Leadership Award to Rachel Weintraub. Our final recipient has given her entire adult life to public education and public\u00a0service. At the age of 21 she was elected to the Trumbull Town Council and also served\u00a0on the Board of Finance and Trumbull Police Commission. She was an educator in the\u00a0Bridgeport Public School System for 30 years. In 2005, she was elected the first woman\u00a0to lead the Connecticut Democratic Party, where she served for over a decade. Even\u00a0though our politics are different, we should all be proud that one of our own made history\u00a0in Connecticut and we can say they are from Trumbull. I know her parents Peter and\u00a0Josephine would be very proud of her. Please join me in congratulating our final recipient,\u00a0Nancy DiNardo. Thank you all. Lets go forward together.