Candidate profiles: Naugatuck burgess (Democrats)

The Citizen’s News asked candidates running for burgess in Naugatuck in the Nov. 7 municipal election four questions. The responses from Democratic candidates are below:

Robert Burns

Name: Robert J. Burns

Age: 91

Party: Democrat

Education: St. Francis School; Naugatuck High School

Political Experience: Welfare Board (21 years); Burgess (1972-present).

Occupation: Retired Uniroyal Chemical; U.S. Navy veteran, served in World War II and Korean War.

Why are you running for burgess?

“Because I want a better Naugatuck. A Naugatuck our children can be proud of.”

What can be done to increase the tax base to help alleviate the burden on residents?

“I think if we become involved in our government actively we can make a difference.”

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

“As I do now, by attending meetings and helping.”

What is your message to the voters?

“Please attend meetings and become a part of our local government. Call you burgesses, and they are willing to help. Let’s make Naugatuck great again.”

Kathleen L. Donovan

Name: Kathleen L. Donovan

Age: 61

Party: Democrat

Education: Juris Doctorate, Quinnipiac College School of Law; Master in Business Administration, University of New Haven; Bachelor Degree of Science in Nursing, University of Bridgeport; Associate Degree of Science in Nursing, University of Bridgeport; Naugatuck High School, Class of 1974.

Political Experience: Burgess (one term); Naugatuck Zoning Commission (one term); Naugatuck Board of Education (four terms, two as chairwoman);

Occupation: Attorney at Law, solo practice, Law Office of Kathleen L Donovan LLC Naugatuck.

Why are you running for burgess?

“To continue my work on the Board of Mayor and Burgesses and have a positive influence in the areas of: 1) business development and expansion which results in an increase the towns tax base; 2) enhanced services and improved recreations areas for our citizens and development of a zero-based budget with monthly oversight by the town boards of income and expenses.”

What can be done to increase the tax base to help alleviate the burden on residents?

“Business development will be the primary and most effective method to increase the town’s tax base as it will be a new revenue sources added to the grand list.”

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

“Begin with zero-based budgeting and work upward to develop a fiscally-responsible town budget without increasing taxes. The town boards must develop and implement systems to monitor monthly income and spending in all town departments to better analyze and forecast future spending needs to insure fiscal operations are within the town’s adopted budget.”

What is your message to the voters?

“Please go out and vote. Every vote matters. If you don’t vote you cannot have a personal impact on the decisions being made by all members of the elected and appointed town boards and commissions.”

Carl Herb

Name: Carl J. Herb

Age: 71

Party: Democrat

Education: Associate in Science, Waterbury State Tech; New York Stock Exchange Series 7 license.

Political Experience: Past Fire Commissioner; Burgess (2015-presetn).

Occupation: Self-employed (Cindy’s Grocery).

Why are you running for burgess?

“Naugatuck is my hometown. I grew up here and have raised my family here. For the past 38 years, my wife and I have owned and operated Cindy’s grocery, a corner mom and pop store where I have had the pleasure of knowing many of the good people of Naugatuck. I have this venue where I can listen to the concerns of the public and convey them to the Borough Board.”

What can be done to increase the tax base to help alleviate the burden on residents? 

“I will continue to support commercial and industrial projects that will bring in tax dollars without increasing town services such as, finishing Parcel C, continue the revitalization of the GDC building, increase the size of our industrial park, which is being done in collaboration with Waterbury to develop their property and our 40-plus landlocked acreage. Most importantly, we are going to continue with the 87-acre Chemtura industrialization with the coordination of the expansion of the freight lines through this property that will increase not only our grand list but also add employment opportunities.”

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

“Every budget must be analyzed line by line according to the needs versus wants and must be acted upon accordingly. The present budget is the only time in my life that I can remember that Borough spending was less than the year before.”

What is your message to the voters?

“I have children who live in Naugatuck. I have enjoyed the role as a grandparent and have had the privilege to help where I can to alleviate the pressure on my children by getting their children to and from school, picking them up from practices, attending functions, etc. that are impossible for the working moms and dads. With the progressive work that Mayor Hess has put into the aforementioned projects, I also believe that in the near future the hard-earned money of the present and past wage earners will be put back into their pockets. This is not only advantageous to the taxpayers but also to the survival of the businesses they trade with, while also keeping our children and grandchildren close by living in the community they grew up in.”

Patrick James Scully Sr

Name: Patrick James Scully Sr.

Age: 72

Party: Democrat

Education: Crosby High School, Waterbury; Ward Technical Institute; Waterbury Technical Institute.

Political Experience: Board of Mayor and Burgesses (2001-03, 2007-Present); Planning Commission Deputy Chairman (1999-2001); Street Department Deputy Chairman (1985-86).

Occupation: Customer Service/Sales for the Cadi Company (retired); Bristol Babcock Inc. (retired).

Why are you running for burgess?

“My family has been raised in Naugatuck, and I wish to continue to contribute to the future of Naugatuck. Naugatuck has fiscal responsibilities that must be managed and monitored. Hartford is in financial trouble, and until a state budget has been approved our services must be streamlined. My concerns are two-fold: education, police, fire department, roads and emergency communication. These concerns are all geared for the safety of the town and citizens. I have been involved in city government for nearly 20 years. My main concern has been to improve services while trying to streamline our municipal and education costs. This is necessary, so that the Borough of Naugatuck can be governed efficiently. My allegiance is to the taxpayers of Naugatuck. We have a great future if we all work for the common good.”

What can be done to increase the tax base to help alleviate the burden on residents?

“Continue working with Mayor Hess and the other burgesses to bring new industry to Naugatuck. Adding industry is our main objective to building our tax base, thus lowering the mill rate and taxes.”

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

“Very carefully, by reviewing all the budget line items. Each line item, whether one dollar or one million dollars, all add up to create the overall budget. Therefore, they are all important.”

What is your message to the voters?

“Get out and vote, exercise your right to vote. This year towns will most likely be strapped for cash, especially with the uncertainty of the state budget. We must continue working to minimize spending in order to lower the mill rate.”

Laurie Taf-Jackson

Name: Laurie Taf-Jackson

Age: 52

Party: Democratic

Education: Naugatuck Public Schools – Naugatuck Graduate 1983; Associates Degree in Business Management, Briarwood Collage

Political Experience: Burgess for three terms (six years); Liaison for Police Commission, Housing Commission, Elderly Commission and Park and Recreation Commission; Board of Directors for Youth Services; Justice of the Peace; Vice Chairman Democratic Town Committee.

Occupation: Para-Educator – Naugatuck Public Schools (Cross Street Intermediate School)

Why are you running for burgess?

“I would like to continue my tenure as burgess because I take great pride in serving the people of Naugatuck (my hometown). I also want to make it a better place to live and raise a family and improve the quality of life for everyone, as well as enhance education and enable seniors to afford to remain in their homes. During the past six years, I have gained more experience and I am not afraid of hard work. I grew up with a family that believes in giving back to the community.”

What can be done to increase the tax base to help alleviate the burden on residents? 

“We are in the process of increasing our tax base by bringing in more businesses to town such as: Tractor Supply Co., The Station Restaurant, The Club (former Prospect Street School); General DataComm-Event Center. The most valuable project that would impact our future of Naugatuck is the Uniroyal Chemtura property with a major rail-to-truck transportation hub. This will be the golden nugget we all have been looking for.”

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

“We must all continue to innovate ways to reduce spending. During the budget process the department heads should present a reasonable budget without any wish lists. We must be frugal in order to reduce the mill rate and increase the grand list. Managing that delicate balance comes with experience. Experience that I have. We have revenue coming in from the Event Center (General DataComm), in addition to, the armory with special events. The recent addition of the down festivals has increased revenue for our businesses as well as building camaraderie amongst the residents.”

What is your message to the voters?

“My message to the voters is that we are at a unique time in the history of Naugatuck. Since I’ve been in office I have been making the hard decisions needed to turn this town around and we are just beginning to see the fruits of our labor. We’ve had a flat Board of Education budget the last couple years, we have seen new businesses come into town and we have seen a reduction in spending. However, there is still more that needs to be done. There is still room for improvement and I would like to continue to work with the Mayor, Burgesses and BOE on the residents behalf to do so. Smart growth doesn’t happen overnight but it is happening.”

Rocco ‘Rocky’ J. Vitale

Name: Rocco “Rocky” J. Vitale

Age: 62

Party:  Democrat

Education: Classes Waterbury State Tech; Fire Science technologies, Post College; Business Management, Sacred Heart University; Computer Science. Associates in Claims from the Insurance Institute of America. Fire cause and origin classes.

Political Experience: Naugatuck Finance Board (two years); Board of Education (16 years); Burgess (two terms, four years); Member Democratic Town Committee; Various subcommittees for the borough; Chairman, Noise Ordinance Committee.

Occupation: The Hartford Insurance Company-Outside Claim Representative

Why are you running for burgess?

“I enjoy and get great satisfaction by being involved and hoping I can make decisions that benefit everyone. I believe, as a burgess, you have to make informed decisions in the best interest of the Naugatuck. I firmly believe that you cannot legislate from behind a desk at a meeting. You must be involved, see what is going on in the Borough, and seek out information. Priorities are set by the citizens, balanced with any knowledge a burgess may have that isn’t available to the public. As burgess, I actively seek out people’s opinions and ideas and integrate these into my thought process. I have served the Borough in one capacity or another in volunteer positions for over 20 years. This is my home. I, along with many others, want to see if flourish. I raised three wonderful children here. They had success in school and now have moved on to success in the working world. That is what this Borough is all about: helping everyone achieve success as much as possible.  As a resident for over 30 years, I am committed to Naugatuck.”

What can be done to increase the tax base to help alleviate the burden on residents? 

“We are well on our way, and have plans in place, to increase the grand list that will greatly impact the mill rate. With new businesses such as Tractor Supply, spaces in the industrial park filling, a new industrial park on the horizon and downtown development on parcels A, B and C as well as development of the Chemtura property, we will build the tax base needed for tax relief. It will take a few years, but we are committed to be successful.”

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

“That has been quite challenging, especially this year with turmoil in the state setting a budget.   Taxes are high, too high. I get it. But there also is a responsibility to protect the Borough as a whole and act appropriately to ensure that the infrastructure is not deteriorating as it has been due to lack of investment.”

What is your message to the voters?

“I am a resident and have the same issues financially as everyone else. I understand the burdens. I am committed to pursue an avenue that will bring relief. It may not be today or tomorrow, but Borough leaders must pursue every possible way to provide tax relief. I welcome comments, criticism and suggestions.”