Groton Town Council candidates set sights on growing economic base

Groton - While candidates running for Groton Town Council differ on the approach, most agree on the goal: Groton must build its economic base to take the tax pressure off property owners.

Candidates asked by The Day to identify the town's major issue also pointed to the need to improve communications with subdivisions like the City of Groton and come up with a plan for the future of Groton Public Schools.

Republican incumbent and Mayor Heather Somers said the town needs a "deliberate economic policy which supports making Groton a more attractive place to establish and grow a business." Commitment to the schools is part of instilling confidence in those who would live in town, she said.

Democratic challenger Bob Frink said the town should aggressively seek ways to attract new development.

"On the cost side we have to live within our means," he said. "Operate on the income we have today, not what we had five years ago."

Republican incumbent Dean Antipas said the town must make it "as easy as possible" for businesses to get the approvals they need, but also said difficult decisions may have to be made.

"Keeping expenses in check is a must, and real savings require painful debate about what services we want," he said.

Democratic challenger Rich Moravsik said the town has seen business, revenue and job losses in recent years.

"And spending and borrowing continues as if all is well!" he said.

Republican incumbent Bruce Flax said the schools need a plan for the future, and the town, city and Groton Long Point must communicate with one another.

"Every issue comes down to money, or the lack thereof," he said. "And, if it is about money, ultimately, it is about property taxes."

Republican incumbent Deborah Peruzzotti said the town must support economic development, plan for the future and hold departments and subdivisions accountable to budgets.

Democratic challenger Joe de la Cruz said he used to believe the town could achieve savings by consolidating services, with the subdivisions but now believes this would not save money. He said the town should seek grants "to open our waterfront as New London has done over the past decade."

Republican incumbent Karen Morton said the town must find "creative ways" to reduce costs.

"Many of our residents are still struggling, and economic recovery remains elusive," she said.

Democratic incumbent Rita Schmidt said the town must build the infrastructure businesses need, restore cooperation and rebuild trust in the schools.

"We need to respect and cultivate the differences and unique qualities that make Groton diverse, appealing, and vital on all levels," she said.

Republican incumbent Harry Watson said the council needs to hear from taxpayers. Boards and commissions must also communicate, he said.

"Groton has the most complicated make-up of government in the state but, it works," he said.

"It can only continue to work, or improve, with open communication."

Candidates Genevieve Cerf and Matthew Longino did not provide answers to The Day about their views on the most pressing issues.

d.straszheim@theday.com

In their own words

The Day asked candidates for top offices in the municipal elections to answer three questions:
• What are the major issues for your town?
• What makes you the best candidate for this office?
• What was the last book you read, and what did you think of it?
To read their responses, go to

theday.com/voterguide

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