CANDIDATE OPINION: What I’ve accomplished, and what I’d still like to do

By Christina Tatta

It is time, once again, for the Wallingford municipal elections. While currently serving my first term on the Town Council, I think I did some things well, there were some disappointments, and there are a few things I’d still like to work on.

Where I think I did a good job, and I hope you agree! ...

My first budget, I asked every single department where they could cut just 1% of their budget. I figured if everyone could give a little bit, we’d be able to avoid a tax increase. While that plan didn’t go exactly as I was hoping, it did start many discussions on where we could save money, and I was happy to be a part of a group of councilors who worked together to find savings to prevent the tax rate from increasing.

During my second budget, it was my motion that passed and resulted in a reduction in taxes of a third of a mill.

In both budgets, without affecting any services significantly, I was happy to help our taxpayers save some money, especially during the pandemic when people were hurting financially.

Another issue I worked diligently on was the animal shelter upgrade, which will hopefully begin soon. If anything frustrates me the most with politics, it is the seemingly endless talking with no result. I did not accept the argument that there was “nothing the council could do.” So I researched the wording of the gift money in the Susan Juul will, I studied the charter, and then I wrote a resolution (co-sponsored with Councilor Vincent Testa) which passed unanimously by the council to expend the gift money for air conditioning and heating upgrades in the animal shelter. And, the best part: this won’t cost taxpayers a dime.

My biggest disappointment…

While I voted against it, the council decision this term that disappoints me was moving the police station to the Barnes Industrial Park.  Our Wallingford Police Department is a strong department, keeping our town safe. I like their constant uptown presence, and with the moving of the station out of the center of town, I feel that we are losing some sense of safety, and also part of our New England town center character. I tried to make the argument that we could get more creative with the renovation of the current station, perhaps use the rarely used parking lot behind it to expand, maybe turn the fire house next door into part of the police department and move the fire house to the rear and enter through the side, etc. I discussed public safety, how it gives me a feeling of security to have the police department close by while walking to my car after dinner when it’s dark out. But in the end, my arguments did not convince any of my fellow councilors that the police department should stay put, and now we own a former office building at 100 Barnes Road that will undergo an approximately $20 million renovation.

What I would still like to do…

The Covid pandemic hit about two months after I was sworn in. Therefore, some things I thought I’d like to focus on had to take a backseat to helping businesses find grant money, helping elderly residents make vaccine appointments, etc. But these topics are still in my mind, and I would like to address them in the near future: the adaptive re-use of the historic train station, the addition of a splashpad or two in town, an RFP to see if we can salvage Community Pool rather than spending millions on a complete tear-down and rebuild, making Tyler Mill more of a hiking and biking destination. And, of course, I’d continue to comb through the budget line by line to identify potential savings, as I did with my first two budgets.

My first election you elected me because you had faith in me. Now that I have a record, this election serves as a referendum on the job I’m doing  I hope I have earned your vote, and that you will cast that vote for Christina Tatta on November 2nd.

Republican Christina Tatta is seeking re-election to the Wallingford Town Council.

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