TRUMBULL, Conn. — First Selectman Timothy Herbst presented his State of the Town address Thursday, saying an improved school system, senior citizen tax relief and a growing Grand List mean “Trumbull is being quickly recognized as the community of choice in Connecticut.”
Speaking before about 130 gathered at Tashua Knolls Golf Course, the Republican said his team has cut waste and duplication and has fully funded annual pension contributions in the town for the first time in nearly 30 years.
“In the budget I have proposed for fiscal year 2016-2017, for the second time in seven years we have reduced taxes,” he said. “Over the last seven years, the average annual tax increase has been 1.65 percent, one of the lowest seven-year averages in all of Fairfield County. We have kept the tax rate stable while improving services for our citizens.”
Herbst noted he has increased spending for public education each year since he took office in 2009. Trumbull Public Schools are now in the Top 10 in its district reference group and six out of its 10 of the schools have been named Connecticut Schools of Distinction.
The 2016-17 budget Herbst proposes fully funds the school superintendent’s requested budget, supporting curriculum improvements, professional development, technology intervention specialists and improvements in math, science and mental health.
Over the past year, the town’s Grand List grew about 9.5 percent, Herbst said.
“In 2009, our commercial Grand List as a percent of our total Grand List was 14.1 percent. Today, it is 22.3 percent and climbing,” he said. “We are now within striking distance of achieving a Triple A credit rating.”
Herbst also touched on what has become a contentious topic in town — the creation of a centrally located, multipurpose community center with a focus on senior citizens.
By 2019, 27 percent of the town’s population will be over 65 and they deserve better than the circa-1920 Mona Terrace building that serves as the senior center now, he said.
The idea has been studied for decades, but Herbst called for decisions.
“The time for talk and dithering is over,” he said. “It is a time for action.”
Herbst said he hoped town leaders would put politics aside and work together on this and other initiatives. He encouraged others to stop bickering on social media and get things done.
“I am shocked how well-respected business and community leaders, volunteers and everyday citizens are vilified and used as political scapegoats for the furtherance of a political agenda,” he said. “We need to tackle the issues and not each other.”
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