In the Representative Town Meeting’s Third District, five of the six incumbents are running for re-election to a two-year term. Also, three Democrats are running, one a former mayor of New London, and another a Waterford police officer.
The Third District covers the Oswegatchie region, generally, in town.
Republican Kimberly Alfultis, a business manager for the state treasurer’s office, is seeking her third term. Also on the School Building Committee, Alfultis said keeping down personnel down is her main priority.
Republican Steve Garvin, who works as a fire marshal and building inspector at UConn and is a member of the Oswegatchie Fire Company, is seeking his fourth term. Garvin said he would hope to increase the growth of business within the town.
Democrat Paul Goldstein, who works as an occupational therapist at L&M Hospital’s Pequot Health Center, took over after Diana Cramer resigned from the RTM in the November 2010. He said the biggest issues facing the town is fiscal constraint while maintaining the infrastructure.
Candidates Mark Gelinas and Richard Muckle, both Republicans, did not return questionnaires.
Democrat Elizabeth “Beth” Sabilia is a lawyer in New London and a former mayor of New London, who grew up in Waterford and has since moved back. Sabilia said the biggest issue facing Waterford is maintaining services while showing fiscal constraint.
Democrat Marc Balestracci who is a newcomer to Waterford politics.
“I am a fresh face to Waterford politics and hope to bring new energy to the issues before us,” Balestracci wrote in his questionnaire.
Democrat Jeff Picardi did not submit a questionnaire. He was arrested for . When contacted, Picardi said he wouldn’t comment about the arrest while the case was pending.
Address: 34 Fifth Ave.
Employment: Occupational Therapist, L&M Hospital Pequot Health Center
Education: Post Baccalaureate Certificate, Quinnipiac University 1999
B.S. Physical Education, Springfield College 1990
Previous Elected Experience: Appointed to RTM by Colleagues 2011 to Pres. Elected to RTM 2005 to 2009
Civic Experience: Chairman Public Safety Standing Committee 2011 to Present, L & A Standing Committee 2011 to present, Charter Revision Committee 2009 to 2010, Jordan Fire Building Committee, Chairman Public Health, Recreation, & Environment Standing Committee 2005 to 2009, Education Standing Committee 2005 to 2009.
Top Issue Facing The Town: 1) Fiscal Restraint: Since the tax burden of the town has shifted from 80% (Dominion) & 20% (Citizen) to 29% (Dominion) & 81% (Citizen) it is important to control spending both on the contractual side as well as the capital side. Stricter controls need to be used for salaries & benefits with respect to both administration & regular full time staff. The recent passing of the general accepted accounting principals places the town in a better position to negotiate contracts. The dedicated, valued, & respected employees of the town have the right to negotiate their contracts. However, there has been a disparity between town employees & their colleagues from other towns with regards to salaries & benefits due to the history of Northeast Utilities/Dominion paying 80% of the taxes. Since this burden has changed so should the position from which the town negotiates with its employees. In addition, this same restraint needs to be applied when approving capital projects. If the town does not practice fiscal restraint than we could see more cuts to programs & services that will decrease the quality of life in town that we need to protect for all of our citizens.
2) Infrastructure: The capital improvement plan is one way to make sure that we adequately maintain town assets. I would encourage all citizens to visit various buildings in town & see what may or may not be needed to be repaired. It is imperative that we up keep our buildings & assets to avoid disrepair. This will avoid future increased costs to tax payers while keeping our town services efficient. There is also an emergency appropriation committee that can respond to unforeseen circumstances that affect the town. Two examples would be the recent Tropical storm or a broken sewer main. The town’s infrastructure needs to be maintained efficiently in order to save taxpayer money over the long haul.
Steven Douglas Garvin
Address: 2 Raymond Lane, Waterford
Employment: University of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Office of the Fire Marshal and Building Inspector.
Education: Graduated high school from Sandwich High in 1982.
Earned an Associate Degree of Science from Three Rivers in 2004.
Currently attending the University of New Haven, working towards an Arson Investigation Degree.
Incumbent: Yes, First elected in 2005.
Civic Experience: I have lived in Waterford for the past 24 years. During this time I have been involved with the Oswegatchie Fire Department, where I currently hold the rank of Captain and Training Officer. In addition, I am active in the Waterford Ambulance Association, and Waterford Republican Town Committee.
Top issue facing the town and his/her ideas:
The top issue facing the town is maintaining the current level of services, while balancing the town’s fiscal priorities, maintaining a low tax base, and expanding growth.
Only through continued growth and low taxes can the town hope to attract more commercial taxpayers and jobs. We need to promote growth in the undeveloped areas such as Parkway South, Route 85, and the Boston Post Road.
I would like to continue working with the First Selectman and RTM in order to strengthen, maintain, and promote our accomplishments of; school building projects, single source recycling, regionalization of services, and reducing our bonding commitments.
Kimberly A. Alfultis
Address: 177 Niantic River Road
Employment: Business Manager for the State Treasurer
Education: BA in Business Administration, University of Washington
Incumbent? Yes, incumbent RTM District 3, first elected in 2007
Previous elected experience: None
Civic experience: School building committee, Chair Finance Wage & Personnel subcommittee of the RTM, Sunday school music teacher Gales Ferry United Methodist, former treasurer Clark Lane PTO; former treasurer Oswegatchie school OSO; former editor Oswegatchie Gazette
Top issue facing and the town and his/her ideas: The top issue facing the town of Waterford is the increasing cost of running government and the financial burden it places on our taxpayers. Personnel costs are the primary driver of the budget and keeping the these costs under control is my top priority.
Elizabeth “Beth” Sabilia
Address: 132 Oswegatchie Road
Employment (if retired, when and from what): Lawyer and business owner. Sabilia Law Firm, LLC, 345 State Street, New London, Connecticut 06385
Education: University of Massachusetts at Boston, BA in Ethical, Social & Political Science and Political Science. Juris Doctor, Suffolk University Law School.
Incumbent? (if yes, first elected when) No.
Previous elected experience:
- New London City Council, 3 Terms (Six Years), Mayor Twice, Deputy Mayor; and
- New London Board of Education, 1 Term, Board President
Civic experience (appointments, non-profits):
- President, Bulkeley Scholarship Board of Trustees (current);
- Trustee of the Board of Trustees, Connecticut College (former);
- Board of Directors, Alliance for Living (former);
- Board of Directors, New London Housing Authority (former); and,
- Girl Scout Leader (former).
Top issue facing the town and his/her ideas:
The top issue in Waterford is planning for continued fiscal austerity while maintaining the top-notch services delivered by Town and Board of Education employees, while respecting the integrity of the Town through careful and considered implementation of economic development initiatives. Budgeting, planning, and policy implementation will be crucial to ensure that priorities such as maintaining quality education and emergency and public works services, and long-term capital improvement plans are continuously at the forefront of discussions and debates.
Address: 31 Roseleah Drive, Waterford, Connecticut
Employment: Waterford Police Department (2001-current)
CT. Army National Guard (1993-2001)
A/Z Corp. (1997-2001)
Northeast Atlantic (1994-1997)
Education: Studied Criminal Justice at Three Rivers Community College
Previous elected experience: Union Steward, Waterford Police Union
Civic experience (appointments, non-profits):
I have had the pleasure of working with the Waterford Youth Service Bureau for many years. With the previous Director Sue Radway and with the current Director Dani Gorman, I have assisted and taken part in numerous community events and programs.
Several years ago I created and maintained a Friday night basketball league for teens in Waterford, giving youth a healthy and safe option on Friday nights.
I have assisted the WYSB for several years in the annual community celebration of youth. Over the years the events, which try to bring attention to the dangers of underage drinking, have consisted of police and fire basketball games, police and fire vs. Harlem All-Stars in comedy basketball and the latest event which was dancing with the stars-Waterford.
I have been lucky enough to be a part of other events such as Stuff-the-Bus,(a food drive campaign), a confidence building course with middle school students and gift giving at the holidays to families in need.
I have been instructing in Waterford schools for many years. Although this is a function offered through the Waterford Police Department, I have volunteered and developed lessons in D.U.I., drug recognition, cyber-bullying and police training and qualifications. I have also instructed the 11 week program "Challenge" at the elementary schools in town for six years.
Several years I have volunteered for the "Tip-A-Cop" event and the Law Enforcement Torch run, to help raise money for the Connecticut Special Olympics.
Top issue facing the town and his/her ideas:
The town of Waterford has seen tremendous change in the last ten years. The town has seen significant growth in commercial areas as well as modest growth in residential areas. The town is still transitioning from seven dilapidated schools to five new or as-new schools. While the town continues to develop, we have had to deal with a large decrease in tax revenue from the Millstone Power station.
The first issue is taxes and the services the town provides to Waterford residents. A clear example is the fact that we saw teachers get laid off last year as town leaders attempted to approve an annual budget. We also had town employees give back by way of furlough days to assist the town with the budget. By laying off employees, not filling vacant positions and holding the line on budgets, services to residents will be affected.
The solutions to these issues are not simple. Communication between the residents of Waterford and town leaders is vital. Increasing attendance at meetings to better inform town leaders as to what people expect for services and how much they are will to pay for it is just a start. As a resident, I read about thousands of dollars in added costs at the high school construction project for things such as mats for the old gym walls, yet we laid off teachers just months prior. I would rather have an extra teacher in a school than new mats hanging on a wall. This is a real example of how residents can voice thier opinions to town leaders as to what is important and where to spend the town's money.
Another issue is planning. An example is when the town of Waterford allowed all of the schools to reach embarrassingly poor conditions without upgrading or renovating one school at a time. By building a new school every five years, rather than all new schools within five years, it would have put less strain on town finances and allowed for newer schools much earlier. As we built and are still building the schools at approximately the same time, one might believe that all of the schools will begin to deteriorate at about the same time in the future. The new schools are beautiful, but certainly better planning could have saved some financial strain today as so much money is tied up in bonding.
A third issue I believe needs to be looked at is traffic. The traffic in the town of Waterford is becoming a major concern. Between drivers speeding on almost every road in town to the heavy volume we see on Rte. 85, Rte. 32 and Rte. 1, I honestly think the town needs to consider changes. The police department makes every effort to enforce traffic violations, but they are at staffing levels from where they were in the 1980’s. Businesses continue to open in town, drawing many out of town drivers into the area. Planning for new businesses should follow designs used in areas of Rte. 85. The Waterford Commons and Crystal Mall have access roads connecting businesses by just a few entrances to Rte. 85. On Rte. 1 and parts of Cross Road, every business has its own entrance and exit which clog traffic and ultimately create an environment where drivers take risks to get out into traffic. These risks create many car accidents on Waterford roads.
I am a fresh face to Waterford politics and hope to bring new energy to the issues before us.
I am a moderate Democrat. I feel that we must be fiscally responsible as we continue through these difficult financial times. Holding the line on taxes, while continuing to provide our residents with the best services is a top priority.
I am tired of watching the "us versus them" mentality in politics. We must work together to get things accomplished and moving in the right direction. I do not base my decisions solely on the political party in which an idea was proposed, but rather on the idea itself. If I think it will benefit the residents of Waterford, then I will support it.
As a Town of Waterford employee, I will be required to remain silent on one or two subjects if up before the R.T.M. However, I am able to look at all subjects objectively and without bias.
Editor’s Note: If any candidate did not submit a questionnaire and would still like to, feel free to e-mail it to me, Paul Petrone, at email@example.com by Friday.