Selectman Bill Furrier, a candidate for First Selectman, addresses rumors and provides his perspective on the campaign so far.
IPN: You have made a pledge to reduce town side spending by 5% over two years. Spending always goes up, it never goes down. Is this a realistic pledge?
Bill: It is not only realistic, we believe that it is essential that we reverse the mindset that costs must always go up and we have no control over them.
IPN: Why haven’t we been able to cut spending in the past?
Bill: Because we typically tend to do the same things over and over without looking for new ways, methods or technologies that allow us to do more for less. We tend to accept the best practices of the past at tomorrow’s prices.
In fact, the last Legislative Council evaluated new and innovative ways to approach responsible cost cutting in several areas. These approaches have been documented, but they are not being employed. Our current First Selectman has a study underway looking at possible synergies in certain administration functions between municipal services and the school district, but that is about all that has happened.
IPN: Do you feel that the current administration is committed to reducing government spending?
Bill: No, I don't. I'll tell you why. Gary Davis, the current IPN member of the Council, during the last budget session suggested that the town analyze what the impact would be on municipal and educational services if we were to reduce the property tax by one percent. Not one Republican or Democrat on the Council supported conducting that analysis. Our First Selectman said a tax reduction could not be achieved and she did not want to undertake such an analysis. Proposal was dead on arrival. The First Selectman did reluctantly agree to work with the Council to look at ways to minimize future tax increases. She met with a Council Subcommittee once to discuss the topic. That's the important difference in the First Selectman's race. I am committed to reducing municipal government spending. My opponent is not.
IPN: Bill, some Democratic and Republican candidates have been commenting on the Newtown Patch insinuating that you won't be a full-time First Selectman if elected.
Bill: My full-time and only job will be serving the people of Newtown when elected as First Selectman.
IPN: Some people are suggesting you are a long-shot to win. What do you think?
Bill: I believe I have a great shot at winning the election for First selectman if ideas and personal character matter to voters.