GOP picks nominees to keep town 'moving in the right direction'

The Trumbull Republican Town Committee welcomed its crop of candidates for the 2015 election at its party caucus at Marisa's Ristorante Monday night.

Senator Art Linares (R-33) and Trumbull Police Commissioner Roger McGovern introduced First Selectman Tim Herbst, who received his party's nomination at the conclusion of the ceremony. With a win in November, Herbst will become Trumbull's top official for his fourth term since taking office in 2009.

Committee chairman Paul Lavoie announced Treasurer John Ponzio and Suzanne Burr Monaco would also be running for re-election on November before Herbst unveiled his "Trumbull 2025 campaign" during his acceptance speech.

"It is a plan of where we will lead Trumbull over the course of the next decade," Herbst told the crowded room of supporters. "It’s a vision of where we must go if we are to continue to make Trumbull a nationally recognized community of choice.

"To further strengthen our finances, here is what I am fighting for: stable and lower property taxes for every Trumbull resident. A healthy rainy day fund and fully funded pension obligations," he explained. "Five year budget forecasting so we know what fixed costs to expect in our budget so we can plan for the future. Long term financial planning with our Board of Education in a fiscally responsible and deliberate manner. My friends, if we do all of these things, we will achieve a AAA credit rating by 2025."

He also touched on how to improve the town's school system, its economic development, its infrastructure and its infrastructure.

"We must make every Trumbull school energy efficient by 2025, with an emphasis on renewables like solar," the first selectman said. "And we must take the energy savings we realize and reinvest those funds in our aging elementary and middle schools, so our kids are learning in a 21st century learning environment.

"We must work to fully implement the recommendations of the Gibson Report by 2025 to further eliminate inefficiency and duplication," he said. "And with the savings we realize from these operational efficiencies, with declining enrollment and available classroom space, we must build upon the positive results of full day kindergarten. We must take these operational savings and make a meaningful investment in universal Pre-K."

Board of Education

Education was a consistent theme amongst the speakers Monday night when the GOP nominated five candidates to run for the Board of Education in November.

Lavoie, who earned a nomination on his party's ticket, will run alongside Republicans Ted Chase, Loretta Chory, Jeff Donofrio, and Suzanne Testani.

Chory and Donofrio will be running for re-election in their respective campaigns. Chory is currently the board's vice chairman.

Testani, who serves District 1 on the Town Council, will be running for an education seat and will leave her Town Council seat vacant.

Town Council 

For the open seats on the Town Council, the RTC nominated Ennio DeVita, Vincent DiMasi, Donna Seidell and Jack Testani for District 1. All the candidates besides Testani will be running for re-election.

Testani, who currently serves on the police commission, will be running for the seat currently held by his wife, Suzanne Testani. He will not run for re-election on the police commission.

In District 2, Edna Colucci, Robert McGowan, Cindy Penkoff, and Tony Scinto received nominations with Colucci, Penkoff and Scinto accepting bids to run for re-election.

McGowan looks to fill the seat left vacated by Kenneth Martin.

At the caucus, it was announced that Mark Block, Michael London, Carl Massaro, and Lori Rosaco Schwartz would run for District 3 — the later three will be incumbents in their campaign against the Democrats.

For District 4, the Republicans tapped Matt Caron, Rick Costantini, AnnMarie Evangelista, Mark LeClair, and Joe Pifko to be on the ticket for the town council race.

Of that five person slate, Caron is the only nominee who isn't already serving on the Town Council

Other nominees 

On the Republican under-ticket, the party selected Bill Haberlin, Elaine Hammers and Scott Zimov to run for open chairs on the Board of Finance. Haberlin currently serves as an alternative, while Lavoie serves as its vice chairman.

Planning chairman Rich Deecken will seek re-election on the Planning and Zoning Commission in this year's election, while Mark Smith will run for an open spot in November 2016.

As for the Zoning Board of Appeals, Richard Mayo will contest again this November, while Rob Saunders accepted a bid to run in next year's race.

Lastly, Jeff Craw will run for an open position on the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Back to 2025

Herbst's speech took up a majority of the two-hour convention.

He discussed how the school system could expand its advanced placement programs and foreign language offerings so Trumbull's kids will have the tools to compete in a global economy.

"If we do all of these things, our school system will become a statewide leader by 2025 and we will further improve and grow Trumbull’s property values," he said.

To build upon our economic development success, Herbst suggested the town have a commercial grand list that is 33% of our total Grand List by 2025.

"This will allow us to further stabilize and reduce residential property taxes," he said. "We must continue to develop other areas of Trumbull, like the Long Hill Green, and Madison Village and the North End of Trumbull, to force competition in the marketplace and force all stakeholders to raise the bar.

"We must make our corporate park the envy of Fairfield County," Herbst added. "I envision a corporate park that recruits lower Fairfield County and New York City businesses to Trumbull. Our corporate park must be one that outpaces our neighboring communities and our corporate park must be the linchpin that connects to the Tri-State to the rest of New England.

"With hard work, we can get there by 2025," he continued.

As for the town’s infrastructure, which has taken a beating these past two winters, the first selectman vowed to repave 50% of Trumbull’s roadways while developing a long-term plan of action to modernize and make energy efficient and citizen accessible all municipal facilities by 2025.

"We will do this while developing a real, sustainable plan for Trumbull’s WPCA and another adjoining community by 2025," he said.

He also championed programs for the town's vulnerable youth as well as its senior population.

"We must automate and improve our recreational and senior services to provide convenient and cost effective services," Herbst said.

"We will improve our park systems and expand our fields to further meet the needs of our recreational programs by 2025, reducing the demand for available fields in Trumbull," he said. "We will develop a public/private partnership with the Trumbull YMCA to finally give Trumbull an indoor community pool by 2025, thus reducing the impact to the Trumbull taxpayer and providing our citizens with the amenities they deserve. And we will finally give our seniors the senior center they deserve."