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An Honor And Privilege To Serve On Board Of Finance



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To the Editor:newtownctdemocrats.org for more information.

It's an honor to run for re-election to the Board of Finance and truly a privilege to have served Newtown over the past years. Our family has lived in Newtown for 26 years. I served on the Board of Finance from 2001 to 2011 (time of inception until time elected to the Board of Selectmen); 2011 to 2015 Board of Selectmen; and Board of Finance 2015 to 2017. I have served as chairperson and vice chair of the Board of Finance. Many know my wife, Stephanie, who was president of Newtown Scholarship Association, and my children who attended Newtown schools, Tara, Jimmy (volunteer firefighter with Hook & Ladder), Kelley, and Owen (and their sports.) I have also served as vice chair of the Family Counseling Center and am warden of the Borough. We believe strongly in giving back to our community that has given us so much… a picture of John F. Kennedy hangs in the entrance of my office.

At Lehigh University I double majored in finance and economics with an emphasis in public finance, and a minor in government. From my studies it was easy to understand the peer review and mathematical/statistical models regarding closing schools and property values - conclusion: the closing of the Hawley School Elementary School would not save money. For the past 25 years I have been a small business owner running my law offices. I understand the need to make a payroll each week. Understanding local small business is important when sitting on the Board of Finance.

The coming years will present financial challenges to Newtown. Specifically, Newtown is in the top 25 percent tax/per capita towns in the state. It is one of the factors that must be addressed in order to achieve a Moody's AAA rating (bonding savings). The other holdback is our grand list. It needs to be increased by smart commercial development. A way to remember our policy directives at the voting booth would be - "it's about T.E.D." meaning it's about Taxes (controlled), Education (Blue Ribbon), and Development (smart!). Like any business, we need to find further efficiencies and economies of scale. We should also continue to focus on senior tax relief. Education (Blue Ribbon quality) is not only important for the economic and cultural health of our country, but it drives the demand to move to Newtown. That demand raises property values and increases the grand list. Commercial development alleviates the property tax pressure on Newtown residential taxpayers. It needs to be smart, though. We all love Main Street and the rural feel of Newtown. These need to be preserved. Once our treasures like Main Street, the flagpole, volunteer fire companies, cultural arts, Edmond Town Hall, the Meeting House, etc are lost, they are gone forever. Without them, the demand to move to Newtown is diminished and our property taxes rise.

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Thank you for your consideration. Please remember to vote on 11/7/17!


Jim Gaston

18 Main Street, Newtown         October 4, 2017

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