July 21, 2016 - Following last night's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, First Selectman Tim Herbst made the following statement:
I am extremely pleased the Planning and Zoning Commission moved forward with the positive recommendation to purchase two land parcels during last night's meeting and I am hopeful that in time we can continue with all four parcels as was recommended with unanimous, bipartisan support from the Town Council.
We have an obligation to our residents and business owners to pursue every opportunity to make Trumbull a better place to live, work and raise a family. The purchase of these parcels is an important first step in that direction.
There are over 6,000 residents using the trail every week, our library is in desperate need of additional parking and our Plan of Conservation and Development calls for the Town to develop properties in close proximity to our municipal campus, to better serve our residents. However, paramount to all of the things we know we must do is the importance of working with our residents, not against them, to improve our town. The parcels we've recommended acquiring and any we look to acquire in the future will be done voluntarily. I should note that this is the first property acquisition the Town has pursued in the last seven years, with the money to acquire these properties being previously authorized by my predecessor.
While I am excited by what the future holds for our town, I remain troubled by what appears to be politically motivated efforts to tear down Trumbull's progress.
I observed Mary Beth Thornton’s support first hand in a Town Council executive session in June. To learn of her criticism and opposition to acquiring these properties today is disheartening and disingenuous. Furthermore, not one member of the Council expressed reservations in that session. In point of fact, I indicated that we would not proceed with negotiating these acquisitions if there was not bipartisan support. Everyone in that room was excited by the prospect of expanding and improving services for our residents, families and businesses who rightly demand we do better.
This should not be a partisan issue - we must be better than this. As our town continues to grow, we must grow with it, and I believe, as did the members of the Town Council, that purchasing these parcels is an important first step.
I look forward to continuing an open, bipartisan dialogue with town leaders and will remain transparent with residents as we continue to move Trumbull forward to better serve them.