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Face Off

Tetreau and Bellitto on the issues for first selectman




Mike Tetreau

Fairfield native Mike Tetreau (D) is the First Selectman, a position he was appointed to when his predecessor Ken Flatto took a job with the Malloy administration. Prior to that he was on the board of finance, on the representative town committee, and planning & zoning. He also has a career in real estate.

Please give your opinion of the Metro Center project and what your actions will be toward it.

The Metro Center is an important engine for economic development in Fairfield. It will provide much-needed additional commuter parking while also attracting new businesses, jobs, and tax revenue. Since taking office as First Selectman last June, I have been working on several fronts to ensure the project is completed on time and with the least impact on taxpayers. A November opening is anticipated. I have negotiated a reimbursement from the state to save taxpayers $3 million. I am continuing to negotiate with Black Rock Realty to obtain a similar contribution. In addition, we are managing the completion of this project to come under the current budget.  Each of these initiatives saves taxpayers money.

Are property taxes too high, too low, or just right and what would your actions be on this issue?

The number-one issue on everyone’s mind is taxes. It is essential that we keep taxes as low as possible. There isn’t a quick fix. I will work with town departments and the schools superintendent to identify long-term options to minimize tax increases and increase productivity. My 25 years of business leadership give me the skills and background to get this done. 

What will be your first action after election?

Completing the Metro Center project at the lowest cost to the taxpayers and putting together a budget that slows the burden on taxpayers. I will continue to communicate with citizens to make sure they are well-informed on initiatives I bring forward.

Is Fairfield better off than it was ten years ago?

In some respects, yes—we have a vibrant downtown and cultural center that is the envy of our neighboring communities. We have a strong commercial sector with low vacancy rates and increasing tax revenue. However, many of our citizens are struggling in this economy. We are seeing more short sales and foreclosures along with a decline in real-estate values. We need real leadership in Town Hall. I saw my mom and dad sell their home but not be able to find a senior-friendly affordable home in our town. We need to provide more services for our seniors, so our seniors can stay here if they choose.

What has led to the changes that have taken place over the last decade?

The stagnant national economy and job losses have been the most significant contributing factors. The continued rise in property taxes, driven by increasing costs for pensions and medical benefits along with the increase in bonding to finance our school building projects, has put a mounting burden on our citizens.  

How do you view the role of the arts community?

Fairfield has become a regional center for the arts. This activity has been a boon to our downtown and commercial sector. It has helped our town become a destination for residents in surrounding towns. The arts benefit us all.

Of what are you most proud about Fairfield?

Fairfielders give back! From the PTA and youth sports to the many boards and nonprofits, our citizens are involved. We are a community that cares, that looks after one another. We value our heritage. And we plan for the future. This is what I am most proud of.

Robert Bellitto

Fairfield native Robert Bellitto (R) is a partner in the law firm Bellitto & Bellitto, LLC, vice chairman of the board of finance, PTA executive board member, and a coach of Fairfield National Little League. He is a graduate of Fairfield Prep (‘86), Fairfield University (‘90), and Suffolk Law School (’93).

Please give your opinion of the Metro Center project and what your actions will be toward it.

The Metro Center began as a promising project, and still has great potential, but it has devolved into a morass of politics, back-room dealings, and massive cost overruns. Former First Selectman Ken Flatto put taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in environmental cleanup costs by entering into a secret agreement with the State and Black Rock Realty last year. Interim First Selectman Mike Tetreau has pushed for the completion of the station by election day at an additional cost of $7.5 million. Mr. Tetreau has provided no formal budget or cost breakdown to justify this additional expenditure, which is why I voted against it. As First Selectman, I will explore all legal avenues for restitution, and I will immediately replace all personnel who are found to be responsible for this project’s mismanagement.

Are property taxes too high, too low, or just right and what will your actions be on this issue?

Too high. Taxpayers are willing to pay their fair share for the quality services that Fairfield provides, but times are still tough, and many citizens simply do not have more to give. As First Selectman, I will institute a one year freeze on all discretionary spending in the town’s operational budget to provide immediate tax relief.

What would be your first action upon taking office?

I will review the status of open collective bargaining agreements with the town’s labor attorney, and negotiate new contracts that are fair to town employees and affordable for taxpayers.

Is Fairfield better off now than it was ten years ago?

Overall, no, it is not. That being said, there is much good in the town to build upon. We must better utilize our existing assets, such as our two great universities, our corporate and commercial base, our highly educated workforce, and our geographic advantage of being on the Sound and close to New York City.

What has led to the changes that have taken place over the last decade?

Questionable judgment and lack of planning by the Flatto administration have cost taxpayers millions of dollars and put our town at risk. Madoff. Metro Center. Cost overruns and delays on school building projects and town infrastructure improvements. Secret deals and side letter agreements. A change in leadership can make all the difference going forward. We need Town Hall to stop worrying about what’s politically expedient, and focus on what’s best for Fairfield’s future.

How do you view the role of the arts community?

Fairfield is blessed to have a vibrant arts and cultural scene that improves our quality of life and appeals to people of all ages and interests. Whether your thing is big band concerts on Sherman Green, rock and roll at StageOne, ballet at the Quick Center, exploring our past at the Fairfield Museum, or seeing great works of art at the FAC or Bellarmine Museum, there is truly something for everyone here in Fairfield, and you don’t even need to get on a train.

Of what are you most proud about Fairfield?

Fairfield is a great town because of its diversity. Diversity of neighborhoods, of economy, of culture, and history. Fairfield has always been a town where there is a place at the table for everyone. That is what I will be fighting for as First Selectman.

The election for the four-year term of first selectman is Tuesday, November 8.

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November 2018

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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
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1 Museum Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

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Telephone: 203-831-9063
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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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More information

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In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

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Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
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More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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More information

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Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
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1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
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1 Museum Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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Website »

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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
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More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Website »

More information

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Where:
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1 Museum Dr
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
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1 Museum Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Contact Name: Krista McCormack
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
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Contact Name: Front Desk
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