Letter — Trumbull is at a critical point

Michael Herbst
Michael Herbst

To the editor:
Since launching my campaign for first selectman, as I travel around town and speak to our residents, there is a grave concern with radical zoning changes and the influx of apartment development. People are concerned about the impact it will have on town services, how it will overpopulate our schools and how it will raise our taxes. Whenever the current First Selectman is challenged on these issues, she deflects blame and claims this happened in a previous administration. This is untrue and has brought front and center a clear lack of leadership.

Between June 2018 and January 2019, 960 apartments have received approval from the Town. These approvals have included zoning variances, zone changes and special permit approvals. Mrs. Tesoro publicly supported the zone change at the mall that will allow for 280 apartments– so much so that when she crafted an apartment moratorium, she made sure there was a carve out provision to allow this project to go forward.
280 apartments at the Trumbull Mall will directly impact Frenchtown Elementary School. 200 apartments on Reservoir Avenue, approved in September and December of 2018, will directly impact Middlebrook Elementary School and could cause students to be redistricted. This year, Mrs. Tesoro reduced the Board of Education budget by 2.3 million dollars. By virtue of this reduction, Mrs. Tesoro is acknowledging that the Town cannot afford to meet existing educational needs. If that is the case, how can the town meet future educational needs with an influx of hundreds of new apartments and the children that will ultimately enter our schools?
When a police officer and union president testified before Planning and Zoning about the negative impact more of these developments could have on public safety response time, the administration-appointed Police Commission chairman developed a letter disputing what this police officer said.
The people of Trumbull know me. For nearly forty years you trusted me with your children and now I want you to trust me with your Town. I believe in getting things done with an honest, no nonsense approach. That is what I intend to do if elected to lead Trumbull.
I will make sure we elect and appoint people to serve on our land use boards with strong integrity and good judgment. My Economic and Community Development Director will be focused on the real priorities: the redevelopment of Trumbull Center and a very high vacancy rate at the Trumbull Mall. Unlike our current first selectman, the owners of the Trumbull Mall will know where I stand – no apartments on property zoned for commercial purposes. No more radical zone changes. I will appoint people to the Police Commission that will support our police officers and take their concerns seriously. Police officers shouldn’t be ridiculed for being honest about public safety.
Trumbull is at a critical point. During the course of this campaign I will be honest with the people of Trumbull and they will know exactly where I stand. I will not hide in my office or speak to you through carefully crafted press releases. I will not blame others. I will lead.
Michael T. Herbst (R)
first selectman candidate
Editor’s Note — This letter was slightly edited to clarify that a Tesoro appointee to the Police Commission had been critical of the police union president.