Preface to Town of Wilton, CT – Democratic Platform 2015-2017
Letter from the Democratic “Listen to Wilton” Platform Chairperson
The Wilton Democratic Party understands that economic considerations frequently drive government decisions in the 21st century. At the same time, we believe social issues & values influence decision making. Therefore, we choose to “say something” socially and economically with our planks in this Wilton Democratic “Listen to Wilton” Platform 2015-2017. As “real change” is presently taking place, our mission is to continue to strive for “quality of life”. We continue to open our doors of dialogue to all as the need for community involvement is essential. Does every Wilton Democrat support each individual plank with equal fervor? No. This is a guideline for our elected and appointment officials to utilize in their representation of the Wilton Democrats and indeed all citizens of Wilton. We believe adherence to these guidelines will make for a better tomorrow.
Ernest G. Ricco
Chairperson, Democratic “Listen to Wilton” Platform Committee 2015-2017
Wilton Democratic “Listen to Wilton” Platform for 2015-2017
ratified by the Wilton Democratic Caucus 7-22-15
The “Listen to Wilton” Platform provides a leadership tool for our elected and appointed officials and Democratic Town Committee members. Wiltonians share a core value of concern for the well-being of their neighbors which forms the philosophical underpinning of each plank contained here. We can maintain Wilton’s unique character, preserve its small town values, and meet the challenges of the future by daring to embrace creative social solutions balanced with fiscal prudence and accountability.
- Achieve cost savings, economies of scale, and financial efficiency by eliminating redundant costs, utilizing energy conservation and streamlining and/or combining support functions among the town’s major boards, commissions, and essential services, i.e. Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, et al. Make a priority the pursuit of additional financial savings by developing regional initiatives to eliminate redundancy borne by Wilton and its neighboring towns’ essential services giving priority to domestic services.
- Maintain affordable town agencies and services and encourage long term financial analysis services by setting realistic budgets and expectations so changes to taxes and mill rate are reasonable, and so those on fixed/reduced incomes can retain their homes.
- Maintain a substantial, above average financial reserve in the budget to allow Wilton to maintain a AAA credit rating and, if necessary, to borrow at lower rates.
- Streamline capital building process to achieve efficiencies in all town building projects.
- Support the establishment of the position of ‘Director of Facilities and Energy Management’.
- Provide the financial and human resources required to maintain and improve the infrastructure of the town including improvements to Comstock Community Center and Miller-Driscoll School.
- Provide the financial and human resources for technological upgrades.
- Implement the Plan of Conservation and Development to address issues of critical importance to Wilton residents within the context of preserving the town’s character including:
- The establishment of green building principles in new construction and renovation,
- The passage of regulations to ensure that the scale of residential development is consistent with surroundings and which establishes commercial development parameters to ensure such development takes place in areas of town for which it is suited,
- The fostering of the preservation, enhancement, and mixed use character of our existing retail neighborhoods, such as Georgetown, Cannondale, and Wilton town center,
- The management and preservation of open space to promote wildlife, conservation, biodiversity and trails, and
- The support of town initiatives that address and mitigate causes of climate change.
- Encourage new commercial business in town by supporting the work of Economic Development Commission in attracting small and large companies while working to retain existing businesses. New zoning regulations should be considered along the widened Route 7 corridor to increase the commercial tax base and to allow for a mix of residential, commercial, retail, and adaptive uses, but, also, keeping Wilton’s historical character in place.
- Offer tax incentives to landlords renting to small, local businesses in Wilton Town Center.
- Support “complete streets” for purposes of promoting pedestrian and bicycle access and safety, particularly in Wilton Town Center
- Allocate financial resources and professional capacity towards planning and economic development activities including, but not limited to, executing the Plan of Conservation & Development, expanding the tax base, preserving town character, village-building, retaining small business, and maximizing opportunity for private investment.
- Support the passage of an ordinance that requires the video recording of board and commission meetings including but not limited to the Board of Selectman, Board of Education, Board of Finance, and Planning and Zoning including maintaining convenient access through posting videos on Wilton’s Government and Educational Access television channels, as well as, the town website.
- Continue to support the town library including the state subsidy of the free inter library program, social services, youth services, and senior services to fulfill their mandate in meeting the increased needs of townspeople during emergencies, natural disasters, and lean economic times.
- Support efforts for diversification of citizenry such as housing for seniors and town employees based on financial need.
- Explore and advocate financial incentives for use of mass transportation.
- Ask and support our elected officials to
- Encourage bipartisan civility and cooperation among town boards, citizens and employees.
- Encourage members of the Town boards & commissions to be mindful of their proper roles and responsibilities as described in the town charter.
- Hold all elected and appointed representatives accountable for their words and actions.
- Support education, legislation and funding that calls for
- An increase in mental health and social support,
- The elimination of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and
- Universal background checks for weapon purchases.
- Support measures to increase voter participation through voting reforms that include:
- The removal of restrictions on absentee voting from the state constitution,
- The approval of early voting
- Automatic voter registration at DMV locations
- Support state and nationwide efforts to label Genetically Modified Organisms.
- Support funding for extracurricular activities such as sporting fees, art classes, band instrument rentals for families in financial need to allow the children to stay connected to the community, their peers and adult mentors, as well as, to develop into future leaders.
- Support an increase in tax deferral and abatement for senior and disabled citizens that is financial needs based.
- Support efforts to enhance communication and interaction between the schools and the community.
- Provide sufficient and appropriate resources to
- Provide our students with the personal, academic and technology skills necessary for them to be responsible and productive citizens,
- Meet and endeavor to surpass state and federal requirements while providing a quality education for all students,
- Promote “differentiated classroom instruction” that encourages teachers to address the varied needs of individual students within the classroom,
- Attract and retain outstanding teachers, and
- Maintain the buildings and grounds of the Wilton Public Schools.
- Continue to support funding for two School Resource Officers.
- Oppose any ‘participation fee’ or ‘pay to play fee’ in principle and practice for public education.
- Support and promote State and Federal efforts to make four year public education affordable to all legal residents through means of free tuition.
- Support universal pre-kindergarten.