Q&A with Berlin mayoral candidates

Q&A with Berlin mayoral candidates

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BERLIN — For the first time in Berlin, the mayor will be elected by voters and not by members of the Town Council.

Republican incumbent Mark Kaczynski, 61, will be running for a second term while Democrat Richard Paskiewicz, 74, will be campaigning for the first time.

Kaczynski and Paskiewicz recently sat down with the Citizen to talk about their views on several town topics.

Economic Development

Paskiewicz: You’ve got to have businesses that will want local people to support them...building (big) box stores, while it looks good in tax revenue, it kills the local stores. I think we need to make our approval regulations more streamline so it doesn’t take as long to get approval to build.

Kaczynski: We’ve got to continue down the road we’ve been on, I mean we had 40 businesses that either moved, expanded or started in Berlin in the last year and a half...We’re very active...I want to continue with that. I think when word gets out that we’ve been very successful these last two years I think we can attract some more businesses.

Board of Finance

Paskiewicz: My strength is numbers, I’m good at numbers. I opposed the creation of the board of finance in the manner in which it was created...one of my strengths has been working with people and they know me. I’m not going to say one thing and do the opposite.

Kaczynski: I think it’s a good thing. I didn’t know what to think when we revised the charter and they talked about the board of finance but what I have come to find out is...a lot of our agenda is financial issues and we spend a lot of time on that and obviously it’s important...but there are other things perhaps we should be looking at.


Paskiewicz: The state of Connecticut budget woes are not going away...Next year this is going to repeat itself and I’ve not heard any real discussion in our town on what are we going to do if we get a significant reduction in state aid... Are there any plans?...I think we need to know that because if we don’t have that problem this year, we are going to have that problem next year...I think that’s something the new mayor has got to be out in front of.

Kaczynski: This year we had a great meeting after the public hearing about the board of education budget and we were able to come to a great understanding of what they needed. We approved another half a million dollars to them and they’re very happy with that...I think it’s important in the mayor position to get out there and bring more people to the council and different issues they may have, whether it’s residents or whether it’s town departments.

Police Station

Paskiewicz: The needs of the police department have not gone away, they’re still there and I saw for myself the need. There are significant needs, there are things that are antiquated, out of date, unsafe. Something needs to be done, but remember we had a vote on the $21 million police station that the voters turned down. They brought in a revised plan for $16 million...four people on the council made the decision instead of the voters in Berlin.

Kaczynski: Their police station is a little bit out of date and we have to do something for them...As the mayor you have to make decisions for the whole community...Looking back, hindsight is always 20/20, after we didn’t fund it I felt kind of bad about it but this year with our budget issues thank goodness we didn’t...We haven’t given up on the site on Farmington Avenue...we’ll continue to talk about that...It might be more economical to renovate downstairs.

Town Manager Search

Paskiewicz: There are people out there that are highly qualified. If you’re going to have an operation that involves millions of dollars you want someone leading that institution that has knowledge of what to do. The town needs to hire someone to help with its search, and we’re paying more for this arrangement than if Denise was still there...we should have the best person in there regardless of what his or her political affiliation is.

Kaczynski: We’re not going to decide on a town manager before the election. At this point I think it’s probably better that we wait for the new council... I hope I’m included in there...We have some candidates that we interviewed that are in the running...I’m not worried about the town with an interim status because he [Jack Healy] is doing a great job. There’s no rush and it’s an important decision.

akus@record-journal.com 203-317-2448 Twitter: @KusReporter

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