Candidate profiles: Prospect Town Council

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Alexander DeLelle
Alexander DeLelle

Alexander DeLelle

Age: 75

Party: Republican

Education: Bachelor’s degree in engineering, Salem International University Salem, West Virginia 1964

Political Experience: Prospect Planning and Zoning Commission (12 years); Prospect Town Council (three years).

Occupation: Retired aerospace engineer

Why are you running for Town Council?

“I want to foster the growth of the commercial district of Prospect, yet maintain the overall rustic feel of the town.”

How would you approach crafting a budget and the mill rate? 

“Use a zero-base process to assess the basics costs needed to run the town including needed future capital purchases and reserve funding compared to the estimated revenue excepted to be received.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What should be done to address it?

“The lack of economic expansion in the business and industrial districts to maintain the town and keep its taxes base stable.”

What will be your goals and priorities, if elected?

“Improve the economic growth and services of the businesses in town and still preserve the rural residential feel and character of the town.”

Larry Fitzgerald
Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald

Age: 64

Party: Democrat

Education: Bachelor and master of science degrees in physical education, Southern Connecticut State University; 6th year degree in Educational Leadership, Sacred Heart University.

Past Political Posts:  Chairman, Prospect Board of Recreation; Assistant Chair of the Prospect Emergency Management Advisory Commission.

Occupation: School principal

Why are you running for Town Council?

“I want to be involved in making Prospect a better town. Prospect is a good town but we can do better. The town is approaching a population of over 10,000 people and as the town continues to grow we need to look at what services are needed, and at the same time be able to hold down taxes. We need to modernize town government as we can no longer operate the same way we did 20 years ago.”

How would you approach crafting a budget and the mill rate?

“It has to be an open process. There needs to be input from all town agencies and the town budget needs to be reasonable, but also meet the needs of the citizens. We need to look at how the use of grant money can affect our budget by keeping the bottom line lower. We need to look at economic development in order to expand the tax base and keep the mill rate at a point that we as citizens can afford. I would also appeal to citizens to attend the budget workshops that are open to the public. Their needs and opinions need to be heard as part of the budget process.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What should be done to address it?

“I feel the most important issue is keeping taxes at a reasonable rate. The town is growing. The issue becomes how do we keep taxes low but also support a growing town. Economic development is key. We must continue to grow the tax base so that the burden of funding the needs of the town does not fall solely on the homeowners. The expanded use of grant money can provide additional funding that our taxpayers deserve, while at the same time allowing our budget to stay within our means. We must also think of our senior citizens who are on fixed incomes. We must find solutions so that we can reduce their tax burden and allow them to stay in Prospect. We must also be able to fund services to include recreational programs for the younger families that are moving to Prospect. We must be able to meet the needs of all Prospect residents.”

What will be your goals and priorities, if elected?

“My goals and priorities will be to focus on economic development to expand the tax base, address affordable senior housing so that our seniors do not have to leave Prospect upon retirement and pursue additional grant money to add sidewalks and additional recreation facilities. I would also work to expand the hours at Town Hall in order to allow residents greater access. We must modernize how we do business. It is time to move Prospect into the future and I want to be part of the decision making that will allow the town to do so.”

Thomas J. Galvin
Thomas J. Galvin

Thomas J. Galvin

Age: 67

Party: Republican

Education:

Political Experience: Planning & Zoning Commission, 2001-2007; Prospect’s Town Council, chairman, 2007-present

Occupation: Retired banker, vice president, Centerbank, Waterbury

Why are you running for Town Council?

“With Prospect’s chosen form of government, the Town Council plays an important role in managing the town finances, especially in making sure that the financial position of the town is protected. We need to make sure the budget reflects all the government we need, but not any more than is really required.

How would you approach crafting a budget and the mill rate?

“During my many years of financial management I’ve dealt with many types of budgets and a variety of approaches to crafting them. I believe the one that works best in our environment is what is referred to as a ‘zero-based’ approach.  This process mandates that every expense be analyzed and re-justified each year. This assures that there are no ‘automatic’ increases, that no expenses are repeated just because of ‘tradition’ and that every dollar being spent is really necessary.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What should be done to address it?

“In the very near future, Prospect will move from being the largest town of less than 10,000 residents to being the smallest town of more than 10,000. So far, we have been fortunate to maintain much of our ‘small town’ charm, and keeping that ‘feel’ will become more difficult. Controlling our expenses will be key, and keeping our seniors in their homes will be a big part that effort. We must always be looking ahead, but let’s not forget our past.”

What will be your goals and priorities, if elected?

“To do whatever is necessary to keep Prospect the ‘Best’ town in Connecticut, regardless of size. First on my agenda is supporting any changes to Prospect’s Town Charter, which our residents feel are needed. Our Charter has not been updated in 15 years, and a majority of its content dates back to the 1960’s. Most importantly, I will do whatever is necessary to protect the financial position of the town and help to assure that we continue to prosper in what remains an increasingly difficult statewide economic climate.”

Patricia Sullivan Geary
Patricia Sullivan Geary

Patricia Sullivan Geary

Age: 70

Party: Democrat

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education, English major, Southern Connecticut State University; Masters in Educational Foundations, Central Connecticut State University; Sixth year, Education, University of New England.

Political Experience: 15 terms on Prospect Town Council; former member and vice chairman of the Prospect Board of Recreation; former chairman and present member of the Pension & Benefits subcommittee of the Town Council; former member of the Land Use Subcommittee and the Elderly Housing Feasibility subcommittee; Justice of the Peace.

Occupation: Retired language arts and reading teacher.

Why are you running for the Town Council?

“As a 45 year resident of Prospect, a parent, and a grandparent, I bring to this office not only my life experiences, but also my tenure as an elected official. These experiences and the knowledge I have gained allow me to make informed decisions based on what I believe the citizens want. It has been a privilege to represent the citizens of Prospect, and I hope the voters will allow me to continue in this role.”

How would you approach crafting a budget and the mill rate?

“Crafting a town budget is similar to preparing our own household budgets. We first address the necessities: utilities, police, public works, education, senior services, etc., and then we consider our “wants,” including department requests and infrastructure improvements. Balancing the needs of the town with the ability of the taxpayer to pay is always the highest priority. The mill rate is set to ensure that the revenue needed to support the budget is collected. Elected officials are taxpayers, too, and keeping the mill rate low matters to us, too.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What should be done to address it?

“The most important issue facing Prospect today is finding a way to expand our revenue base so that we can reduce the burden of taxes on our citizens. Coupled with attracting new businesses, we must develop and implement a plan to safeguard the viability of businesses that already exist, especially on the Route 68 and Route 69 commercial corridors. We also need to aggressively pursue both state and federal grants.”

What will be your goals and priorities, if elected?

“One of my goals, if elected, will be to encourage the input and participation of more citizens in our government. One means of achieving this would be by communicating with the public regarding issues, actions, and activities taking place. Not only would I encourage more use of the town website, but I also believe that we should take advantage of our community access television channel and record Town Council, Board of Education, and Planning and Zoning meetings regularly. Citizens should also be able to view public hearings and town meetings.”

Carl Leon Graveline
Carl Leon Graveline

Carl Leon Graveline

Age: 56

Party: Democrat

Education: Prospect Public Schools, Holy Cross High School 1973-1977, UConn 1978-1981 Bachelor of Science in Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies.

Political Experience: Town Council: 1991-1993; 2007- present; served 8 years; Zoning Board of Appeals: 1990-1991; 1997-2007; served three years on Water Pollution Control Authority.

Occupation: Self Employed Business owner, Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Appraiser.

Why are you running for Town Council?

“I am seeking re-election to the Prospect Town Council. I grew up in Prospect, I know and realize how Prospect is such a special community in which to live. I have always felt in my heart the need to give back to this town in some way through community service and volunteerism. I bring my education and experience to the table as an asset for the Town Council.”

How would you approach crafting a budget and mill rate?

“Our departments provide the council with their estimated budget for the coming year. The council then balances the needs of the town/taxpayers by providing the best possible quality and service at the least cost. Our budget is tight, yet our goal is to furnish the best services, police and fire protection possible. I represent each of the citizens of our town, all ages, and I continually strive to balance the needs of us all.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What should be done to address it?

“One of the important issues facing Prospect today is the need to embrace the changing technologies we face daily. Prospect has grown yet needs to embrace technology. This is not a detriment as much as a hindrance to our future development. We need to take hold of change and welcome the challenges to come.”

What will be your goals and priorities if elected?

“My goal if re-elected is to provide the needs of our citizens with a tight balanced budget. I keep an open mind in preserving the rights of each individual and consistently keep the best interest of our town in the forefront of our decisions. I represent a fair and balanced government. I will not substitute quality, yet I will ensure all of our citizens live in a safe, happy and healthy environment known as ‘The Best Small Town in Connecticut.’”

Douglas B. Merriman
Douglas B. Merriman

Douglas B. Merriman

Age: 80

Party: Republican

Education: Three college degrees in education.

Political Experience: Town Council (30 years); Board of Education (four years).

Occupation: Retired teacher.

Why are you running for Town Council?

“To continue reasonable economic growth with a balance of small town atmosphere.”

How would you approach crafting a budget and the mill rate?

“Careful line by line reasonable expenditures.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What should be done to address it?

“With I-84 restructuring we have an influx of monumental traffic on routes 68 and 69 for the next four years. Solution?”

What will be your goals and priorities, if elected?

“Maintain reasonable taxes and encourage economic development which has thrived in the last 10 years, especially with the water line expansion, under the Republican leadership.”

Carla Perugini-Erickson
Carla Perugini-Erickson

Carla Perugini-Erickson

Age: 47

Party: Democrat

Education: Wolcott High School Class of 1986, Fairfield University Cum Laude Class of 1990, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Cum Laude Class of 1994

Political Experience: Served on Water Pollution Control Authority, 5 years as Chairwoman; Town Council 2013-present.

Occupation: Attorney

Why are you running for Town Council? 

“I am currently serving my first term on the Town Council and I have learned about the process, duties and responsibilities. This experience, with the knowledge I have as a 20-year attorney, allows me to serve Prospect and its residents effectively. Also, I have begun an initiative for sidewalks in Prospect, and I’d like to see this through.”

How would you approach crafting a budget and the mill rate?  

The Mayor and Town Council spend several weeks in workshops reviewing the proposed budget, the public is encouraged to attend, and their input has been essential to me. Overall, Prospect is fiscally efficient and our budget is largely kept lean. However, after two budget seasons on the council, I have learned of its shortcomings.  I would start the review earlier. I would assign subcommittees to focus on certain departments and major budget items throughout the year to avoid making decisions in a crunch, as well as investigate cost-saving options, and pursue all possible grants. I would explore environmentally efficient programs that can protect our town and our wallets. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and more than one way to craft a budget. Changes are needed, and I do not defer to the mantra, “because we’ve always done it this way.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What should be done to address it? 

“I grew up in Prospect, I am raising my family in Prospect, and I have my law office in Prospect.  I am here because I believe that Prospect is a good place to live, with government officials who are dedicated public servants and who have the best interests of the town at heart. That being said, Prospect needs some change. We need smart economic development that will generate funds to lighten the tax burden on our residents. As an elder law attorney, I see elderly clients who struggle to stay in their homes on limited incomes. Implementing programs supporting small business growth and relocation here will help alleviate tax burdens on our elderly and young families, and will expand the tax base to provide funds to support community initiatives to improve the quality of life.”

What will be your goals and priorities, if elected? 

“In addition budget review changes, I will advocate for planned economic development, I will continue to identify and pursue state and federal grants to support community initiatives to provide safe walkways for our children and residents. I will investigate funding for after-school programs to support our children’s growth and ability to be self-supportive (like community gardening and mentoring with the elderly). I will expand programs to support our elderly and their ability to remain in Prospect, the place we all like to call home.”

Stanley J. Pilat
Stanley J. Pilat

Stanley J. Pilat

Age: 64

Party: Republican

Education: Connecticut School of Electronics in West Haven; certified biomedical equipment technician

Experience: Five terms on Town Council, current member and currently vice chairman; former member of the Region 16 Board of Education for eight years, chairman the last two years; chairman of the Region 16 Building Committee.

Occupation: Driver for OptiCare of Waterbury; self-employed, biomedical equipment technician.

Why are you running for Town Council?

“My family and I have benefited greatly over the years from living in this community that I am proud to call my home. Being part of the town government and helping to provide the necessary services that benefit all of us is my way of giving back to a town I truly love.”

How would you approach crafting a budget and the mill rate?

“We on the council go over every line item, compare with the previous years and we project future needs based on our own experience to craft a budget. I fortunately have been involved in the budget process on many levels since first coming to Prospect 36 years ago and use that knowledge in making decisions on the budget we present to the voters for their approval.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What should be done to address it?

“The uneasiness that people feel these days with the state and federal government in financial and other matters affects how they feel about local government as well. By showing the public that Prospect is always run with their values, needs and finances put first shows responsibility and leadership they can trust in.”

What will be your goals and priorities, if elected?

“Prospect is a great town but I know that it can only stay that way by continuously examining every structure of town government to find and fix any weaknesses and recognize and nurture our strengths.”

Donald E. Pomeroy
Donald E. Pomeroy

Donald E. Pomeroy

Age: 69

Party: Democratic

Education: Associate Degree Business Administration, Post University.

Political Experience:  Eight terms Prospect Planning and Zoning Commission; former Chairperson of the Prospect Planning and Zoning Commission; presently serving as a hearing officer to resolve land use and/or blight ordinance issues.

Occupation: Retired; 47 years of service with the Connecticut Light & Power Company; first 20 years were as a carpenter in the general construction department of the construction test and maintenance group; retired from the position of supervisor — general construction; held this position for approximately 22 years.

Why are you running for the Town Council?

“I have long felt that I must give back to the community in which I live and see the opportunity to serve on the Prospect Town Council as another means to do so. When I decided a few years ago to not run for another term on the Prospect Planning and Zoning Commission I decided then that I would find another means to serve the Prospect community. Choosing to run for a Town Council position is the means that I chose to continue to serve.”

How would you approach a budget and the mill rate?

“First, I would closely review the proposed budget as recommended by the Office of the Mayor looking for potential savings in each line item. I would also look at the proposed budget with an eye towards increases in line item proposals if I thought the citizens of Prospect would benefit by doing so. I have years of experience in submitting operational and maintenance budgets to the senior management of the former Northeast Utilities system, now Eversource Energy, and then managing approved budgets to remain within authorized spending levels. I believe this experience to be a huge asset in crafting a town operational budget and then overseeing the budget to assure approved expenditures are not exceeded.

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What can be done to address it?

“I believe the most important issue facing Prospect’s citizens is the same one faced of most our state’s residents: tax burden. The Town of Prospect needs to grow our commercial base to help relieve the tax burden off the backs of the residential home owner. We can and must look for new and innovative means to grow our economic base by boarding the commercial base.”

What will be your goals and priorities, if elected?

“As stated above, a priority for me would be to work towards growing the town’s commercial base in an attempt to lessen the tax burden our residents.”

Jeffrey Slapikas
Jeffrey Slapikas

Jeffrey Slapikas

Age: 52

Party: Republican

Education: 1981 graduate of Holy Cross High School, Waterbury

Experience: Zoning Board of Appeals, 1998-2009; Town Council, 2009- present; former member of Board of Recreation

Occupation: Self-employed, contractor, Prospect

Why are you running for Town Council?

“I am a lifelong resident and want to give back to the community I grew up in. I want to be one that is involved rather than sit back and second guess.”

How would you approach crafting a budget and the mill rate?

“I believe the budget that has been presented while I have been on the council is a solid budget and the council has done a good job tweaking it along the way. I would work toward another successful budget process and strive for zero increases.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Prospect today? What should be done to address it?

“I believe the main issue in Prospect today is the tax burden on residents. Prospect is mainly a residential town. I believe that we need to work with the economic development group to entice more commercial and industrial business to town.”

What will be your goals and priorities, if elected?

“If elected I will continue to work with the entire council, both parties, to look out for the Town of Prospect’s best interest.”