WESTON, Conn. — Weston First Selectman Nina Daniel made her first talk to Y's Men of Westport and Weston last week as she gave her first state-of-the-town address.
Daniel, who won election in an upset last November, called herself a “fiscal conservative” in the talk to the group at their Westport meeting.
She said she plans to slow spending growth in Weston by avoiding new debt that would drive up taxes, balancing spending with revenue and meeting the primary obligations of government: safety, education and providing for the basic needs of every citizen in town.
In tackling her first budget, Daniel came up with a winner for the next fiscal year. The property tax rate in Weston will go down from 28.67 mills to 28.56 mills, due mainly to new home construction in Weston, she said.
Daniel also told the group that one of her top priorities is education. Although Weston's tax base is virtually all residential — meaning families shoulder nearly the entire tax burden in town — fewer than half the homes have children in the public schools, she said.
Thus, she said she must appeal to those who have no commerce with the school system to continue to fund it. At the same time, Daniel recognizes that Weston's aging population is growing — which will increase the need for senior housing, which, in response to a question, has yet to be resolved. These challenges “will require fresh thinking about how we allocate resources,” Daniel said.
She finished by commenting about the close ties between Weston and Westport, the hometowns of the Y's Mens members.
"We have so much in common and so much at stake, I look forward to forging new bonds of cooperation between our towns,” Daniel said.