Tuesday night, were officially sworn into office at Town Hall.
“The oath we take tonight is our bond, and the work ahead is a reflection of the people’s trust in us,” said Republican First Selectman Dan Steward in a speech after he was sworn-in for a fourth term. “I pledge to hold that trust carefully in my hands as we continue to serve the citizens of our town.”
With the swearing-in ceremony complete, the winning candidates officially become members of their respective boards. Thanks to a strong performance by the GOP on Nov. 8, Republicans now have control of the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance, the Board of Education and the Representative Town Meeting.
Still, in his speech, Steward said by doing what is best for the town, instead of what is best for the party, is how the town will succeed.
“By working together, we have the opportunity to transform each of these challenges into accomplishments today and for generations to come,” Steward said. “As we work on each of these challenges, we also need to be mindful of the long-term effects and be vigilant to our citizens for the benefit of the town.”
New And Experienced
The swearing-in ceremony featured a variety of public servants, from officials being sworn in for the first time to officials being sworn in for the sixth time. Nobody in town government has held the same elected position longer than Town Clerk Robert Nye, who has held the post since 1991.
“That is quite an honor,” said Nye, a Democrat, who was sworn-in by Steward after swearing-in every other candidate. “It is still a very special event. And it never gets old.”
On the other end were two new members of the RTM, Democrat Marc Balestracci and Republican Janet Smith, who are serving in town government for the first time.
“I’m excited for the opportunity,” said Balestracci, who is a Waterford Police Officer. “I look forward to serving.”
Smith was joined by her family, thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday. Christina Hoadley, Smith’s daughter, said it was an honor to watch her mother get sworn in.
“I’m happy it happened today, when I’m home on break, so I could see it,” said Hoadley, who is in college. “It is an honor.”
Smith said she would try her best to stay in contact with the people in her District by creating a Facebook and possibly a Twitter page. There is often no public input at the meetings, so the more she can hear from the public the better, she said.
“I want to extend the possibilities of getting the word out and staying in contact,” Smith said. “I want people to be able to reach me.”
Aside from congratulations, Steward did lay out some For one, he said he wants to regionalize services in an effort to save money.
“We still need to participate in looking to regional solutions for regional problems,” Steward said. “We are in strong conversations with East Lyme and police services while New London has indicated an interest in radio services.”
The first selectman also said Waterford has a high percentage of senior citizens, the group most affected by tax increases. Therefore, to avoid “,” spending must be held down and the grand list needs to grow, he said.
“As a team, we need to strive to continue our program of budget restraint and adhere to the budget plan that will help us to work through the continued loss of tax dollars from the ,” Steward said. “The bleeding has stopped as of this year, but the recovery will continue to test us as we attempt to keep our budget stable.”