David E. Owens Middle School was the site for a Candidates Night where the public had a chance to question the incumbents and their opposition for the New Milford Borough Council.
The evening featured nearly two hours of questions from the public and answers from the candidates. All four candidates, who are running for two seats on the council, were in attendance.
Republicans Dominic Colucci and Diego Robalino are the incumbents and Democrats Ira Grotsky and Thea Sirocchi-Hurley are the challengers.
Here is an excerpt from each of the candidates’ opening statements:
“I grew up here in New Milford. I graduated New Milford High School and my two daughters also graduated from the high school. I was a member of the planning board and have sat on the Zoning Board and at the present time I am serving on the Historic Commission and the Beautification Committee. I believe growing up here and my long term involvement in my community has given me the knowledge and the effectiveness to be a member of the council.” – Thea Sirocchi-Hurley – D
“I’ve been a resident of New Milford for 17 years. I have three children, two of whom graduated form New Milford High School and I have one child who is at Gibbs. I have had my business for 11 years and I’ve coached many of your children on different levels, whether it be rec or little league. I’ve served time on the Board of Adjustments and about four years ago I felt the need to get involved politically in town. I saw a lot of things that looked to be not proper and I didn’t like the direction the town was going in. Specifically taxes that were getting increased time and time again with nothing to show for it.” – Dominic Colucci – R
“I will have been married for 27 years come March. We have four wonderful children. Two of (whom) have graduated college, one is still in college and our youngest is in middle school. I am a CCD teacher in my parish of St. Joes. In owning a business, which I have for 15 years, you have to make a budget and stand within the budget and cut expenses. That’s what I bring to the council. As my first term on the New Milford Council winds down, I can look back and stand proud that I’ve been able to offer you good service and am extremely satisfied with the wealth of money-saving ideas I have brought to the Council. And there are more to come.” – Diego Robalino – R
“I’ve lived in New Milford for over 30 years. My wife grew up here and she and her sisters all graduated from New Milford Public Schools. Before I retired, I successfully managed millions of dollars as a credit manager, planning manager and IT manager for a large company here in New Jersey. When my children were young, I was an assistant little league manager. I was also a member of the New Milford Zoning Board form 2004 to 2011 and served as Vice Chairman from 2007 to 2011. I’m not a particularly warm and fuzzy guy, I leave that to my wife. But I’m terrific with numbers and excellent at analyzing problems and finding solutions.” – Ira Grotsky – D
The most popular issue raised in the public questions was related to the United Water Property. Republican incumbents Diego Robalino and Dominic Colucci both stood behind their position that if the variances Hekemian is looking for are granted by the Zoning Board, the case would likely end up in court and the borough’s chances would be 50/50 at best.
Democratic candidates Thea Sirocchi-Hurley and Ira Grotsky both made the case that the current proposal for the United Water property had more negative impacts than positive impacts. Both candidates believed there was a good chance that the borough could win if it came down to a judge’s decision.
Feel free to pose questions in the comments section. Patch would be glad to try and get some of them to the candidates for you.
Check back with Patch as elections approach on Nov. 5 for more from each of the candidates for Borough Council.