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New Fairfield First Selectman candidates share goals for town

The interim New Fairfield First Selectman is looking to be elected to a term of her own while a Selectman is looking to step up to the town's top spot.


Republican Susan Chapman been on the Board of Selectmen for almost four years and has served as First Selectman for five months.  When she and John Hodge were elected together, Hodge became very ill with Leukemia.  She stepped up to the First Selectman role then and also this summer when Hodge took on the role as Selectman to dedicate more of his time to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, created in his cousin's memory. She says she was better prepared now than when that happened after just a few months on the Board.


Democrat, and current Selectman Mike Gill is a small businessman who's served on the Board for two years.  He has worked with the Ball pond Volunteer Fire Company and the New Fairfield Fire Department over the years. 


Gill has also been the town's representative on the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority, mostly recently as chairman.  As a member of HRRA, Gill says he's help to successfully renegotiated contracts with various haulers servicing the 11 area towns, implement electronic recycling and single-stream recycling as well as lead Connecticut in the paint care initiative.  The state is only the second in the country to launch the program which went into effect in July.


If elected to a term of her own, Chapman says she would like to continue to keep taxes low, get the library project started and help pursue affordable senior housing.  Chapman says the library project has been waiting for final grant money and been inactive for a while.  She says she wants seniors to be able to sell their houses if they want something more manageable.


When it comes to the budget, Chapman says the town does keep an eye on the bottom line.  This year there is a $500,000 surplus, a portion of which is being used to complete the road program for the year.  She says maintaining infrastructure helps keeps taxes down because the town doesn't have to bond money for items like road repairs.


Gill says if he is elected as First Selectman, his primary goal is to keep taxes in check while maintaining services that residents expect: police, fire, EMS and emergency preparedness.


Chapman has met with the other town leaders, the Candlewood Lake Authority and First Light Power to get on the same page.  She wants to come up with a comprehensive plan for the lake because New Fairfield has the largest land around the lake.  She also wants to educate people on what they do that contributes to the lake's health and quality.


Gill says a lot of people have a hand is working to maintain and protect Candlewood Lake: it borders five towns, is owned by a private company and has oversight by the state and federal government .  He says the milfoil and zebra mussel issues need to be controlled.  But he says they can study the Lake and still get nothing done.  So he wants to take the information that's already out there, sit down and make a solid plan.


He says Hidden Valley, off Gillotti Road, also has a serious milfoil problem.  While it's small, it does empty into Candlewood Lake.  To protect water quality he says they need to clean what's upstream so it doesn't effect what's down stream.  He notes that the Ball Pond area has done pretty good cleaning up the milfoil, but there are other issues there.


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