How did you first become involved in city government?
My interest in city affairs dates from the Eisenhower Park deliberations and the Washington Field skate park proposal. I followed both projects closely.
I also became concerned about the rapid development of new housing subdivisions and by the larger, taller, and more massive residential properties that were being approved during the late 1990's.
Milford's rapid growth severely strained Milford's schools and other public services. Iam an adherent of “smart growth,” building on land already developed, and cleaning abandoned properties for reuse.
I became active with the 5th District and the Milford Democratic Town Committee. I was asked to run for alderman in 2011.
What is something you're particularly proud of from your time as a member of the Board of Aldermen?
I worked to gain approval for an Open Space Natural Resources Land Manager. We are all stewards of the land and in Milford, we are blessed with an abundance of waterways, parks, beaches, and open spaces for residents to enjoy.
I strongly supported allowing the Library to keep book fines that permitted adult and children's e-books to be purchased, and Saturday summer hours to be scheduled.
Finally, Public Works needed assistance, in personnel and new equipment, and we have begun to put “meat on the bones.”
What was an institution from the 2012 – 2013 budget that you wish had gotten more funding?
It is not matter of us looking to spend additional money, given the tough economic times that we still face, and furthermore, we must be mindful of Milford's large number of retiree homeowners who live on fixed incomes.
Milford residents can be hopeful with our current atmosphere where fiscal restraint will be exercised by a majority of government leaders. Mayor Ben Blake has been innovative and progressive, yet he has been equally prudent with Milford's budget.
The Board of Aldermen approved a budget for fiscal year 2012 – 2013 that increased by a fraction over 1%. The Milford Board of Education has proven to be a mutual partner in implementing innovative programs through reorganization and reallocation of funds, while holding the line on spending.
We also benefit by the scrutiny and oversight functions of the Board of Finance.
What advice would you give to concerned Milford citizens who are hoping to have more of a voice in local government?
I recommend that Milford residents attend public meetings, keep abreast of developments through the City website and Patch, make contact with aldermen by attending our meetings to speak formally or informally, by calling or through email, and contact the Mayor's Office if a resident would like to serve on a board or commission.
We all are volunteers, and we welcome more people to become interested in a passion on which they are willing to devote volunteer hours.
What are the most important improvements that Milford could make over the next year to make the city even better?
My priority in the next year is to have us develop an action plan that improves street safety, encourages sidewalk connectivity, and supports safe bikeways.
I favor a retail anchor for downtown Milford; developing a plan for a parking garage that uses public and private financing with green technology; strengthening historic properties' preservation and oversight; and, I eagerly await the Milford school system's long-range planning process!