By First Selectman Don Lowe in Town Tribune, September 28, 2023
(editor note: The title was added by the SDTC webmaster, not by Don)
Friends and Neighbors,
I have had the privilege of serving as your First Selectman since 2018. I’m asking for your vote to serve Sherman for two more years.
PROMISES: When I ran in 2017 and you elected me, all I had to offer were promises. I promised to keep Sherman financially strong, promised to budget prudently, to manage Sherman responsively and effectively, and to be actively engaged on issues concerning our seniors, our Sherman School, emergency services, public works, Flappy Acres Farm, Candlewood Lake, and other Sherman matters. And, as I will point out later in the column, all of those promises have been met and Sherman has thrived in the last six years.
SUCCESS: But I didn’t do this alone. This success has taken an entire team of good people working together. The only thing 1 can truly take credit for is my ability to get people to work together. I’m pretty good at that. When I started in 2018, I made a conscious decision to not be concerned about politics, to work in a non-partisan way that incorporates the skills of many amazing people. And it starts with my Board of Selectmen (BOS). I can’t say enough good things about both of the selectmen, Joel Bruzinski and Bob Ostrosky.
A GREAT SELECTMAN: Joel Bruzinski has been on the board for two years now and has made a tremendous difference with his good judgment and his conscientious work ethic. (Previous to this, Kevin Keenan was the democrat selectman and he served the town exceedingly well too!) Joel brings a hands-on business acumen and is an old-school conservative when it comes to spending tax-‘ payers’ money. He graciously stepped up as a committed member of the Sherman School Building Committee and has served as the BOS’s liaison for that critical project. He works cheerfully and honestly for Sherman, has a strong sense of planning and Sherman’s future, and I’m proud to call him a fellow board member.
ANOTHER GREAT SELECTMAN: Bob Ostrosky, on the Republican ticket, has served on the BOS for 10 years and is, in my opinion, an unsung hero for his repeated good judgment and for the care that he puts into his decisions. Bob brings corporate management skills to the table and keeps the BOS on track both procedurally and progressively. Like Joel, he has a vision for Sherman’s future and he bases many of his decisions on where Sherman will be in the near and the far future. Bob is exceptionally strong at creating budgets and finding the most economically sound ways to use taxpayers’ money to keep Sherman running well.
RESULTS: This is not some “rubber stamp” Board of Selectmen where all three plod along in sleepy lockstep with each other. Quite the opposite. We disagree but without the political backstabbing, we disagree to find the best solutions, and we disagree politely and constructively.. Consequently, this BOS has leveraged some favorable financial circumstances to save Sherman taxpayers money by budgeting tax decreases five years in a row. We also nearly doubled the Sherman surplus/rainy day fund, and overall, as taxes dropped services increased. As a board, we completely revived and repaired Happy Acres farm and we have shepherded successful capital projects on every single Sherman-owned entity. It’s been a good six years for Sherman. For Sherman’s well-being, I hope all three of us are back working together for two more years.
THE SHERMAN SCHOOL: Saturday, October 7 will be the referendum to fund a plan to renovate the Sherman School in order to fix the building’s severe infrastructure issues and to right-size the building for current and projected K-to-8 enrollment. If that referendum passes, it will be full speed ahead to make that building whole again. If the referendum fails, it will still be full speed ahead to make that building right again. As long as I’m the First Selectman, we will find a way. Sherman is greatly marginalized when its school building – its most expensive asset – is marginalized. An even worse scenario would be regionalization in which we send our young students to other schools. That’s unacceptable. Property values are dependent on a strong school and the Sherman School is a key part of our Town culture. I’m proud to have put three children through the Sherman School and am pleased that others, in years past, voted to fund the school for them. Now it’s time to fund the school to make it whole for new generations for years to come.
COMING UP: In my next campaign column, I will write about what is expected of a First Selectman to serve Sherman correctly. I will mention others who have furthered the collective improvement of Sherman over these last six years. I will outline, specifically, a list of successful capital projects completed over these last six years