Candidate profiles: Beacon Falls selectman

The Citizen’s News asked candidates running Beacon Falls selectman in the Nov. 7 municipal election four questions. Their responses are below:

Peter John Betkoski

Name: Peter John Betkoski

Age: 56

Party: Democrat

Education: High School Diploma, some College

Political Experience: Selectman of Beacon Falls (Two terms). Former vice chairman of Planning and Zoning Commission.

Occupation: Contractor (self-employed)

Why are you running for selectman?

“I am running for Selectman because I was born and raised in Beacon Falls. I am raising my family here and I have a business here. My family has always instilled in me I should serve my community, for the better. My father, uncle, brother and sister all have served as selectman and like them I want to make a difference for the people of Beacon Falls.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Beacon Falls? How will you address it?

“As everywhere, the economy. I will work with local businesses to hear their ideas to keep their businesses moving ahead. I will also work with the businesses that are struggling, as I have been, working with the tax collector and Economic Development Commission to meet all obligations Furthermore, I actively will work with EDC and CERC to make Beacon Falls attractive to new businesses.

How will you approach crafting a budget and setting a mill rate?

“I will work with all departments to look at expenses now and those for the future so that we can plan efficiently without burdening the taxpayers. I also would work with our grant writer to get monies wherever we can to alleviate our budget expenses. I would also take a more active role in getting Hartford to cut their big unnecessary expenses and stop taking from the little guys. We have a set way to set our mill rate, however I will work with the Board of Finance to cut expenses and be creative in meeting our town’s needs.”

What is your message to the voters?

“My message to the voters is, it is easy to criticize so I ask voters to get all their facts before voting. My commitment is to be there for all Beacon Falls residents and to serve them honestly to the best of my ability.”

Michael A. Krenesky

Name: Michael A. Krenesky

Age: 65

Party: Republican

Education: BS, Computer Information Systems, 1981, Bentley University (formerly Bentley College when I graduated.

Political Experience: Board of Selectmen: three terms (six years); Town Treasurer: two terms (four years); Board of Education: four terms ( 11 years as I filled the remaining term of jack Levine in 1984); Economic Development Commission: four years; Municipal Historian: six years.

Occupation: Sr. Project Manager, Affinion Group, Stamford, CT

Why are you running for selectman?

“The straight up answer is that I see too many projects and decisions that are being left to chance by the current administration, and therefore there is still more work to be completed that I believe I must follow through on, so I am asking for the voters of Beacon Falls to return me to this office to continue to work for them.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Beacon Falls? How will you address it? 

“Taxes and roads are the most important issues facing the community. We need to put ordinances in place to protect all taxpayers from those that would take advantage of the tax system. I attempted this and did not receive support from the administration to protect the community.  Related to back taxes, we need to hold the tax office accountable for its actions and insist that it fairly execute the option of the tax auction to collect these taxes regardless of their political affiliation. We need a roads program that is not just a one-off like the Highland Avenue and Burton Road projects. There is currently no open discussion on a program to maintain our road system. We also need to go to bid on a town engineering firm and place that company under contract, which we do not have today.”

How will you approach crafting a budget and setting a mill rate?

“This is the First Selectman’s budget and it has been four years since a first selectman actually crafted our town budget. The Board of Finance has actually been creating the budget, and while we have had low tax increases, we have lost the momentum to fix roads and other capital projects. The perception of lower taxes must also be balanced with the reality that over the past several years, along with the grand list losing 25 percent of its value, homeowners have lost approximately 6 percent of value on their properties. That said, I will work with the First Selectman to craft a sensible budget and bring that to the Board of Finance and garner their support to benefit the long term sustainability of the town.”

What is your message to the voters?

“I am asking for the voters to support my re-election and to elect Ken George for first selectman. Ken and I will bring a conservative and common-sense approach to Town Hall. We will bring transparency back to the selectman’s office and actually listen to the taxpayers. We are talking about bringing a new vision that will advance a sensible economic growth program, which will assist in holding down taxes. In turn, we must balance tax programs with programs that move the town forward, such as maintaining our infrastructure and finalizing action on the Wolfe Avenue property.”