A local taxpayer’s group, the Taxpayers in Revolt, held a candidate forum at City Hill Middle School on Wednesday.
Nine of the 11 candidates seeking elected office as burgesses were on hand to respond to questions from the moderator, Alec Wargo, and a sparse crowd.
The election is May 2. Nine candidates will be elected.
We have posted a question below specifically addressing Renaissance Place, Naugatuck's downtown redevelopment project, and the response from each candidate.
Read our other articles covering the forum where the candidates responded to a question on and .
Q. State grants for special projects look to be non-existent and there appears to be no market for Naugatuck for 400 to 1,000 condos or apartments nor additional retail place at this time. Do you think Renaissance Place is still viable in its present form?
Ron San Angelo (R):
“I believe parts of Renaissance Place are still viable. Let’s face it, the world has changed that plan needs to be readjusted and it needs a big adjustment. But the world is not static. Two years from now the economy could be taking off things could be going better and the housing market could start booming again. Yes we need to look at where we are now and adjust that plan accordingly. Yes, Naugatuck had a dream, and it was a practical dream we could work towards. It’s something I’ve seen both parties work towards like no other issue in Naugatuck.”
Tony Campbell (D):
“I’m big supporter of Renaissance Place. It’s like anything else, these are professional people who are making these recommendations for the town, which means they are going out, they’re getting the data they need to make the decision on what they think should go in there.”
Catherine Ernsky (R):
“I think it’s a good idea and I certainly do support it. Is it going to be the same vision that we originally came out with? I don’t believe so. I think we’re going to have to tweak it somewhat. But is it still a viable option? Absolutely. I think in these economic times it’s something we have to continually work towards.”
Pat Scully (D):
“I am in favor of the principal of Renaissance Place. I never liked the contract we had with Mr. Conroy, I think it was too one-sided. I think that he sold the voters of this town a bill of goods where he was going to start on Phase 1, 2 and 3 and he didn’t complete Phase 1 he wouldn’t go to 2 and he wouldn’t go to 3. Well, now that the economy has gone down Mr. Conroy wants to skip phase 1 and 2 and start off with Phase 3, by building a medical building. And we are now building a ramp garage, we are going to pay for it, from the medical facility to the train station. We need a parking garage for the Town Hall and for the library, there should be a ramp garage going to them.”
Tamath Rossi (R):
“I believe in Renaissance Place because I believe in Naugatuck’s future. Whether or not the actual plan is fully viable, no I don’t think so. Things have changed. We have to be fluid and we have to move and bob and weave with the changes that are dealt to us through the economy. That being said, this has been incredible unilateral team effort. It has been Naugatuck working together and really shining in its true meld.”
Mike Ciacciarella (D):
I’ve received lots of phone calls. People are getting very skeptical, they’re concerned and I also have to admit I’m getting skeptical. I think I would push to re-evaluate the current plan that we have to see if it fits the current economic conditions. There are some things that are being done behind the scenes that people are just not aware of. There are studies being done, reports being done, and things being done that have to be done anyways. So it isn’t that nothing is happening, but people are not seeing anything being built and people are getting skeptical so perhaps the plan is too grandiose and we should look at scaling it down.”
Mike Bronko (R):
“I have been a strong proponent of Renaissance Place and I still consider myself a strong proponent of Renaissance Place. That being said, I’m not sure that the project doesn’t need a new fiscal market analysis to see if the numbers still work. I think that might be a smart thing to do considering the economy we’re working with. That being that I believe the project that encompasses the whole center of downtown is a smart thing to do rather than piecemeal things like Naugatuck has done in the past, which has not work.”
Robert Burns (D):
“At this stage here I think the questions very unfair because we’re not in a viable condition at this point and I don’t think we can really give an honest answer until at least Mr. Conroy starts to throwing some money into this.”
Matt Katra (R):
“I was a strong supporter of Renaissance Place when it went to referendum in 2007. Unfortunately with the downturn and the economic conditions right now I think as it stands it’s not a viable plan. However I think parts of it are still applicable and I think we still need to pursue it. It’s not good that we could be possibly losing funding to our train line. Without the train line that’s another mark against Renaissance Place. However we need to have some sort of plan to bring businesses and redevelop the downtown.”