Five vie for BOS seats

MILFORD — Roger Tilton thinks it’s time for Milford to grow up. By that, he means change to a mayor and council form of government.

“It’s time to change the way we raise and spend money,” he said Monday.

Because the town administrator is hired by the Board of Selectmen, there are no checks and balances, and that can lead to poor decision-making, Tilton said.

The 56-year-old venture capitalist is running against four other candidates for two seats on the Board of Selectmen. They are incumbent Mike Putnam, Laura Dudziak, Suzanne Fournier and Susan Smith.

“We are a big community” that needs a better way to confront the big issues facing the town, he said.

When people look at the 31 warrant articles on the March 14 ballot, they “feel as if they are being nickeled and dimed by every little expenditure,” Tilton said.

“That’s the way it has always been done” isn’t a good excuse, he said.

For example, the issue of the future of the town-owned Brox property, which he called Milford’s “20-year nightmare,” has consumed so much of town officials’ time and energy, and residents seem confused by it.

“The town of Milford needs a new set of eyes on everything, especially the budget process and how we spend our money,” Tilton said.

Because of a clerical error having to do with his email address, Tilton hadn’t been invited to the Feb. 22 candidates forum and hadn’t been asked to submit information for the Voters Guide.

During the forum, the four other candidates answered questions posed by moderator Dave Alcox.

Fournier, an environmental activist, maintained there should be more conservation of the property and fought the building of two sports fields there.

“Conservation has taken a back seat,” she said. “It’s time to take a fresh look.”

Dudziak, an attorney who practices family law, said she would look at ways to bring more revenue to town, and said she fully supports the development of Brox.

Smith has been working in magazine publishing for 20 years, and she said she is familiar with managing tough trade-offs when there is declining revenue. She said the town needs to look at the cost burden of having so many apartment complexes.

On the issue of Brox, Smith said, there should be more research on the need for playing fields.

All five candidates said the town should support the Labor Day parade.

Alcox asked each one that if they were elected, what would they consider their greatest accomplishment a year from now.

Dudziak said she wants to keep taxes down, but to balance that with “what keeps the town great.”

Smith said she would like to find new ways to generate revenue, and Fournier said she wants to make the board more transparent.

All of the candidates except Putnam said they support the idea of expanding the Wadleigh Memorial Library, although they indicated that the $5.6 million plan that was voted down two years in a row should probably be pared back.

The incumbent, a retired Milford firefighter who owns a plumbing and heating business, said he and most people get their information online.

Tilton told The Cabinet he would be pleased if he could start the process of making Milford a city, with a mayor and council form of government.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet. com.