Kit, in her own words, on Parking (read more below):
Kit, in her own words, on Parking (read more below):
What we enjoy here is unique. We experience a quality of life that has not been available in other areas of the U.S. for decades. Major risks to public safety are extremely rare, we are surrounded by natural beauty, and we come together to care for each other in times of need.
One of the most important responsibilities for New Canaan’s leader is to protect what we have here: to guard against gratuitous change for its own sake, to protect the historical heritage of our community, and to create a nurturing environment for our children.
While it is true that we are fighting the same epidemic of addictive substances that families are facing all over the world, we are proactively countering this threat with counseling programs and exercising high vigilance in our schools and in our general community.
We must be careful that the changes we choose are wise ones. Our historical heritage must be preserved. Once we let the genie out of the bottle, there will be no going back. Let’s work together to make New Canaan everything it can be, but with careful stewardship of what we are.
Our Finance Department appears to be finally set on a straight course. Nonetheless, New Canaan has suffered year after year from consistent material weaknesses in our audit reports. This should not have been allowed to happen.
We are fortunate to have financial experts on our Audit Committee, Town Council and Board of Finance. We have a strong accounting firm serving as our official auditors. We need to pay attention to their collective recommendations and move to implement improvements in a timely fashion.
In an effort to control taxes, we need to investigate every possible path to savings. We need to eradicate wasteful duplication of services within our town, and between our town and our schools.
I have many goals, but being a fiscally responsible steward of residents’ tax dollars is my top priority. I believe there are concrete ways to stabilize our taxes. As first selectman, I pledge:
- To adopt zero-based budgeting wherever possible.
- To streamline the mid-budget cycle process to make it less punishing. Thus, department managers could avoid the need for budgetary safety margins.
- To rationalize our fees in all areas – permitting fees, user fees, fees-in-lieu. Some are fully priced, while others should be reassessed. As a simple example, the requirement for parking spaces can be satisfied by paying a $17,500 fee-in-lieu per space while it costs considerably more to build new decked parking.
- To find efficiencies in the operating budget. I will convene monthly meetings with the finance heads of the Town and of the Board of Education to identify ways that we can save money together.
- To seriously investigate installing solar energy on our public buildings. This is not solely for sustainability, but also because we can save significant dollars. According to the Fairfield Clean Energy Task Force, Fairfield is realizing a $2,400,000 savings per year with their clean energy installations – with minimal installation costs.
We must achieve the lowest possible level of expense, while at the same time providing the maintenance that is necessary to keep our infrastructure in good condition, and the investment needed to keep our schools in the top rankings.
I received my MBA in Finance from NYU in 1981. I worked in the finance industry on Wall Street. And I served New Canaan on the Board of Finance for eight years. I believe I have value to add and I would love the opportunity to do so.
Our community needs town-wide cell service. Many developing nations have vastly superior cell service to ours. As a result of recent public meetings, West School is off the table, but there are other areas that will allow us to move forward. When the Utilities Commission resolves the cell service problem at the water tower, and can focus on the wider problem, we should heed what they recommend and move forward. Let’s make sure that our Police, Fire, Ambulance and C.E.R.T. have the appropriate communications ability – town-wide. This is a safety issue for you, for me, for our kids, and for our public safety organizations. SEE ARTICLE EXCERPT BELOW FOR MORE
We need to address our parking issues for our commuters and for our town-center. Is the Lumberyard the optimal lot to deck? Is it possible, for instance, to strike a deal with the state and deck the Pine Street side of the train station? We could potentially gain 100 spaces with much less disruption to the 351 commuters that currently park at the Lumberyard. Is it possible to turn some of the parking on Cherry Street into permitted commuter parking? What about decking Talmadge Hill? I will ensure that all options be thoughtfully considered and will follow through with a cogent and effective plan.
In the town-center, more than 400 employees currently seek parking on a daily basis. Think how much easier it could be to park on Main and Elm if we provided adequate off-street parking for the people who work in our town.
From the New Canaan Advertiser profile of Kit:
Cell service and NIMBY
Devereaux believes the town must improve cell service. “It really is a safety issue,” she said. “Developing nations have far better cell service than we do,” she added “And sometimes we get so wrapped up in NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) issues, it gets in the way of the greater good,” she added.
Having said that, “I don’t think the parents at West School should have to worry if science is with them or it is not with them,” she said, referring to the consideration of West School for a cell tower site. “So let’s say West School is off the table,” she added.
She thinks one option for a cell tower would be on the Clark property on Michigan Road, which is a 23.1 acre plot that was deeded to the town in 1956. “I walked that property and it seems to me that you could have a 75×75 foot base there,” needed for a cell tower, without disturbing the wetlands, she explained.
Devereaux believes commuter parking is an important concern to residents. “I know that my opponent is committed to the lumber yard,” she said, referring to the fact that Moynihan actually announced his candidacy near the lumber yard lot, on Elm Street to underscore his desire to use it as a solution to the parking problem.
“My concern with that is that there are 351 people that park there on a daily basis and most of them waited nine years for their parking permits, and I am thinking it is not going to be an easy thing to displace them for a year or two,” she said.
“I am just not convinced that every place has been looked at as thoroughly as it might be. We need to put everything on the table,” she said.
She suggested the town consider tiering the train station parking on Pine Street across from building were Mrs. Green’s was located.
Also, she wants to consider a recommendation from an old study, which advised using either side of Cherry Street for permanent parking. “Not all of it, just some of it,” she said.
Read Kit’s Op-Ed about the need to maintain what we have before it costs too much to repair.
It is important that New Canaan’s Town government be as approachable as possible — enabling decisions to be developed in a transparent fashion with as much public input as possible.
It is often hard to understand what the majority of New Canaan would like to see happen. The shrill voices of just a few can effectively overwhelm what the community as a whole desires. While it is important for leaders to be able to lead, we need to remember that we live in a democracy. The will of the community as a whole is more important than what an individual or special interest groups may demand.
Narrow special interests may be important and have valid rationales, but the New Canaan taxpayers are the ones who must live with, and underwrite the results. I am a strong advocate for making decisions based on the will of the majority of the community.
I propose that as often as possible, we encourage a full “weigh-in” of Town residents on issues. Perhaps through a constructive use of referendum, ballot questions, or an effective polling system, we must make sure that the decision-makers of our town fully understand what the community as a whole wants.
I have enjoyed and effectively served in many leadership positions. I am an advocate of decision-making through consensus — to encourage the people around me to develop their skills and use those skills for the greater good. In New Canaan we are blessed with an abundance of highly talented residents – and with a high percentage of those residents willing to volunteer their time and talents for the betterment of our community.
It is important to facilitate that talent and make the fullest use of it for the benefit of New Canaan. I firmly believe I can make this happen.