Mayor Ted Gatsas' Plan For Manchester's Future
1.) On Taxes & Spending: Manchester has a tax cap and as your Mayor I support the tax cap. The tax cap is a check on out-of-control Aldermanic spending and the voice of the taxpayers at city hall. I will never hesitate to use my Mayoral Veto to protect the taxpayers and ensure that city hall is abiding by the tax cap. I will veto any budget that breaks the tax cap and will fight vigorously to keep your tax rate from skyrocketing.
2.) Tackling the Opioid Epidemic: The number one public safety issue facing our city is the opioid epidemic. This epidemic has had a profound effect on our city, our state, and our country. Here in Manchester we have worked with our emergency responder community and developed the nationally recognized Safe Station program. In conjunction we have partnered with providers across the city that treat substance abuse disorder. Together through a public/private partnership the city has increased awareness and access to treatment. We must continue this effort with focus and diligence, and we must also identify safe, affordable recovery housing within Manchester. The collective results of our efforts are overdose fatalities are down and our programs are working .
3) Safer Streets and Neighborhoods: According to Chief Willard and the FBI, crime in Manchester has declined. The MPD has the highest complement of officers in city history and we are deploying predictive policing technology to stop crime before it happens. I will make sure we maintain our complement, and when we have the resources to expand the police complement putting more officers on our streets and in our neighborhoods.
4) Paving the future: Investment in the repair and reconstruction of Manchester’s road system is more robust than it has ever been due to the Annual Road Replacement Fund (A.R.R.F) I put together. This plan sets a minimum $3 million threshold for annual road repairs year after year. Due in part to sound planning, we have been able to expand the program and under my leadership this program will continue and the taxpayers will see more updates to Manchester’s roads, bridges, and infrastructure. It is my hope that the Board of Aldermen will continue to follow the sound plan I put together that is currently producing an unprecedented level of repairs.
5) Modernizing City Trash Collection: When it comes to trash collection in the city it’s time for Manchester to modernize. Technology has allowed us to become more efficient and we must do better. Under my leadership Manchester will expand the successful one-person trash collection system, that we utilize for recycling pick-up, that we began as a pilot program in three city wards. This pilot uses trash collection trucks equipped with a mechanical arm and therefore requires only one operator as opposed to the three people our current collection practices require in the other parts of the city. This modernization will allow us to become more efficient and we can deploy the additional manpower resources to other priority public works projects throughout the city.
6) Better Schools and Smaller Class Sizes by redistricting the city elementary schools K – 4 and our middle schools 5 – 8 to create additional capacity. Surrounding towns use this method to educate their students and there are no issues. We must take politics out of the redistricting process all together and give the authority to the administration of the district to redistrict our schools. Innovative programs like STEAM ahead and Manchester School of Technology are making our graduates workforce ready upon graduation and allows our students to graduate with up to one year of college credit and we must expand this programming.
7) An expanding public transportation system: Manchester has a growing and thriving public bus transportation system at the Manchester Transit Authority (MTA). We have expanded our transportation reach by adding new routes and our ridership is increasing having served over 440,000 people last year alone. The MTA is further modernizing by replacing older equipment with new more efficient buses. We will continue to provide the local match to the MTA to update our equipment and expand our reach to meet the needs of our population centers. Additionally with the possibility of private rail service coming to the region we will use our bus service to connect Manchester residents with daily service to the rail system.
8) Charter Changes to address the inconsistencies in the city conflict of interest policy: As your Mayor I will set up an independent commission to review the standards of conduct and rules of ethics, for elected officials in the city of Manchester and charge them with bringing a policy forward through a charter change to the voters of Manchester. Aldermen should be held accountable when they vote on contracts that involve their family members and should not be able to sweep charter violations under the rug.
9) End the practice of taxpayer funded health insurance for part-time elected officials: Resources are limited in the city and we must use what we have available better. It’s time for taxpayer funded health benefits for part-time elected city officials to end. On the Board of Aldermen the resources can be used to enhance public safety and at the School District we can enhance educational programs for our students and add teachers to our classrooms. There is no reason someone should receive lucrative benefits for showing up to work twice a month. People should run for these offices to serve their community, not to receive city benefits.
10) Invest and improve our parks and public spaces: As a city we have made a comprehensive effort to invest in our parks by leveraging partnerships to connect our rail trail system, repurposing our resources, like the conversion of the DuPont Pool on the West Side to a splash pad. We will continue this practice not only as an investment in our city, but also to beautify Manchester. Our next investment will be to replace the turf at historic Gill Stadium, expand the popular disc-golf courses to additional locations around the city, and upgrade our playgrounds and play spaces for young families across the city.
11) Responsible energy solutions for Manchester citizens: Manchester has been a leader when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives. These projects have benefited the taxpayer by saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in the city budget. Building projects within the city will continue to use LEED principals to ensure energy and environmental efficiency. I will continue to bring forward responsible energy projects that benefit the taxpayer including adding solar to our portfolio for additional savings.
12) Manchester’s path to a thriving economy: By keeping taxes low, investing in public safety and updating our infrastructure we will continue the trend of business relocating to and expanding in Manchester. We will continue to see workforce housing develop downtown making Elm Street a vibrant downtown community. We will continue to witness the transformation our Millyard from textile to technology. However, we must continue our vigilance, keep our eye on the bottom line so as not to waste taxpayer resources, make smart and lasting investments in our future, and be accountable to the taxpayers.