Herbst: Ensuring reality lives up to the promise

Four years ago when I sought this office, I pledged that my administration would work toward ensuring that the reality of Trumbull lived up to the promise of Trumbull. These last four years have presented challenges I could not foresee and would not expect. Through these challenges I firmly believe the Town of Trumbull is in a better position now than it was four years ago.

Before I took office, the average annual tax increase in Trumbull was 6% and our pension fund was grossly underfunded. Excessive borrowing compromised our bond rating and fiscal health.

Four years later, the average annual tax increase has been 1.88%, below the current level of inflation. We have increased pension contributions 91.63% in the last four years and for the first time we have achieved adequate levels of funding for the Town pension plan. Our efforts to reduce and refinance existing debt, while shoring up our pension fund has earned positive accolades from Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poors (S&P), which have lauded the Town’s financial management. Our management assessment was recently upgraded from “stable” to “good.” We have been able to stabilize the tax rate while providing additional funding for our infrastructure, our educational system and needed investments in public safety.

With the implementation of full day kindergarten, a commitment to low class size and a comprehensive technology initiative in each of our schools, our graduation rate is now 99.4%, with 94% of our graduates pursuing higher education. Our students are consistently outperforming students in other Fairfield County communities that spend more per pupil and our middle schools were recently cited as schools of distinction by the Connecticut Department of Education.

The reforms we have made to our Emergency Medical Service, the investments in more police officers and life-saving equipment and the security reforms at each of our schools has made Trumbull safer and improved the quality of life for each of our residents. Despite a teetering national economy, in Trumbull, our Grand List has shown positive growth for each of the last three years. For the first time in 25 years, we have opened a new shopping plaza on Route 111. We will break ground on a new medical facility on Park Avenue and recently opened a new medical facility on Quarry Road.

I believe a community is made strong by a commitment to what I have come to describe as the three pillars: Strong finances, outstanding schools and a superb quality of life. This is why Trumbull has been ranked the number 1 booming suburb in Connecticut by Coldwell Banker and this is why our Town has earned the distinction by Family Circle Magazine as the 7th best Town in the nation to raise a family. Yes, I believe that Trumbull is better off now than it was four years ago. I want to keep Trumbull moving in a positive direction. On Tuesday, Nov. 5, I ask you to vote for my entire team, so we may continue to ensure that the reality of Trumbull lives up to the promise of Trumbull.