Submit questions to ask Kim Rose at the Milford Patch Debate at City Hall, Tuesday, October 23rd at 6:30 p.m.
How have your expectations with what it would be like being a State Rep lined up with the reality of the situation?
I expected a lot of long hard days and work and it did not disappoint. The days and nights are long, hectic, chaotic, filled with meetings, public hearings, research and session. Sessions can be very long. Did I say long? Some days we ran 19 hours with only a few hours off to refresh and go back again for another 12+ hours.
One of the disappointments though, was seeing so many great proposals come through committees, but not enough time to consider all of them. I, for instance, introduced two bills which if re-elected, I will continue to work to move through: a prescription take back bill that would require police departments to have a drop box located in their respective lobbies.
The proper disposal of prescription medication will help prevent early prescription drug abuse among teenagers and will also help us prevent further chemical contamination to our soil and water.
Another important bill that I will continue to work on is one that would require those seeking a Home Improvement Contractors License to take a test.
In order to sell Real Estate or Insurance or cut hair you must go to school and pass a test, but to remodel someone’s home, to build a deck for example, a hammer and registration fee is all that is required. We must do more to protect our homeowners.
In addition to all of the legislation I worked on, a significant part of my time was also spent working with my constituents. This, without a doubt, the most satisfying part of my job.
There is often a perception that Devon is left out of certain Milford considerations, such as Milford revitalization projects. Do you think that has been a reality? Are things changing for the better?
Thanks to the funds the former Speaker Jim Amann secured Devon just underwent a 5 million dollar streetscape improvement. The City just repaved a significant portion of the streets in the Oldroyd St area.
In addition, the state has committed funds to address the flooding at Naugatuck Ave. and Bridgeport Ave., a project that is a long time coming, which is in its final engineering stages, so I do believe that we are on the right track.
You are extremely active in the 118th District community and work to bring new programs to the community and clean up the area. One example is the new dog park and community garden that you've proposed. Are many of these projects funded through existing programs or do you sometimes petition the City and State for additional funds?
We are very careful to try to do as much as we can with as little as possible. I am cognoscente of any bills that would come with any mandates. Cities and towns are struggling as it is; anything that would further burden a town or city is not something that I like to support.
The projects that I am proposing and working on meet that basic criteria. The Devon Revitalization Committee had some funds left over that were not enough to make a significant impact to any existing project or start any additional project, yet it was enough to jump start the Edgemont Park Community Gardens and Dog Park.
I felt that the neighborhood and taxpayers would directly benefit from those remaining state funds. The community garden will require very little funding. We will apply for state and federal grant funding where and when appropriate and available.
The dog park, like many others that we researched throughout the country, will be funded through grants (PetCo and the like), donations and fundraisers.
These types of projects are not only quality of life enhancements, they are community spirit building which is the heart of Milford as well as a boost to our property values.
A new and exciting event that I was able to bring to Devon Center this summer has been the Village of Devon Farmer’s Market. I worked extensively with the Department of Agriculture and the Mayor’s office to bring CT Grown Products to Devon.
We were able to cover the expenses of the market through vendor fees and market sponsorship. Not only has this market attracted people from all over, most importantly, families from the neighborhood walk down each Sunday to enjoy the music, shopping and community spirit.
In speaking with the neighbors each week, they expressed to me their desire to see Devon Center become a neighborhood shopping and dining district. I had to agree, that with the streetscape that former Speaker Jim Amann was able to secure funding for, which is now complete, there is still work that needs to be done for this area to realize its greatest potential.
As a former downtown Milford business owner and founding member of the Downtown Milford Business Association, I worked with Bob Gregory, Director of Community Development and the property and business owners to form the Village of Devon Business and Property Owners Association to continue the revitalization efforts here--I know how successful these groups can be.
Short term goals will include working with the Milford Planning and Zoning Department to identify addresses and their approved uses, to matching and marketing them to prospective business owners.
I have been in contact with commercial Real Estate companies, Main St. Org., the Marketing Director for SoNo, that are all willing to work with this group. I am hopeful that we can keep the momentum going in this area.
We are the gateway from the West and with the cooperation of the property owners, we can get our area to shine. Some great suggestions for businesses that were discussed include: an ice cream parlor, Internet café, book store, florist, gift and card shop.
I am working on state funding for a revolving loan program for façade improvement. I like the revolving loan as it combines owner investment with help from the State without the risk of total loss (State), the money is still there, it is just on loan.
Do you feel that enough is being done to support Milford Public Schools? If not, where do you think are some areas for improvement?
I feel that it is very important to help our schools, but we also need to make sure that we aren't breaking the backs of our home owners with property tax increases.
Of course we're always looking for additional funding for our schools from the state and looking to protect if not increase the ECS.
This is why I support more education funding for our municipalities. One idea that has been floated around is for the state recently to take on the burden of picking up the cost of special education.
This would relieve a tremendous burden from our city. This is one of many ideas that we are looking at.
Tomorrow Milford Patch will spotlight an interview with 118th District State Representative Republican Nominee Michael Casey.