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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From Wallingford’s Democratic mayoral candidate:

New ideas to move Wallingford forward

As published in the Record Journal, Saturday October 22, 2011


By Vinnie Testa

I am confident that, based on my record, experience and vision for Wallingford, I am the best person, today, to lead our community through the current tough times and ensure we emerge stronger and better prepared for the future.

I respect Mayor Dickinson and commend him for his service. I also believe, however, that we have failed to move forward. Our Grand List has dropped, our operations are inefficient, our facilities are crumbling and we are cutting critical services to balance our budgets. We need a new approach.

I have specific plans for Wallingford that will: reduce expenses by modernizing how we do business while sharing services between the town and Board of Education; recruit new high-tech businesses to rebuild our tax base; and improve public safety by restoring critical paramedic services and strengthening our police force by retaining the officers we pay so much to train.

Over 30 years ago, our previous mayors had the vision to develop our industrial parks. That resulted in the tax base that allowed us to maintain our schools, provide services and spend on improving facilities and parks, while keeping tax rates very favorable compared to other towns. What’s been missing since then, however, is planning for continued economic development, facility maintenance and, as we all know, modernizing the way government operates. We cannot sustain the quality of life in this community without attracting new tax dollars and running our operations more efficiently to cut costs.

I have a specific plan to bring new businesses to town. I spent over 25 years in sales and business development. I know how to target industries and negotiate to establish partnerships.

I envision establishing Wallingford as a clean energy research and manufacturing center. I’ve spoken with people that provide venture capital to new start-up companies looking to set up shop.
What better place than our own Silicon Valley for synergistic businesses that are pioneers in a cutting-edge field? This will rebuild our tax base and provide good jobs for our children, who we need to stay and raise their families here.

It’s time we took a close look at how our departments operate. I will do that and identify where we can save money and do things smarter. In our labor negotiations, it’s time we got creative and bargained in good faith. Lost arbitrations waste money.

How many of you work for a company that does business as it did in 1990? We can save time and money by offering online bill payments and access to more information. We can reduce the cost of government through the smart use of technology. Sharing services between the town and Board of Education will free up people to do work we now contract out at great expense.

I helped develop our school system’s Strategic Plan. What I will do to increase our tax base and cut costs will provide the resources to implement that plan and stop the cycle of teacher layoffs.

I was born and raised in Wallingford. When my boys were growing up, I coached them in baseball, basketball, soccer and lacrosse. I was a Cub Scout Den Leader, and I’ve taught catechism for 20 years.

I served eight years on the Board of Education and two on the Wetlands Commission. I am in my eighth year as a Town Councilor. I’ve served on many boards and charities. I want to preserve the strong sense of community in our great town.

It’s time for new ideas. It’s time we moved forward. I’m Vinnie Testa, and not only do I approve this message, I am this message. Thank you!

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