Wilton First Selectman candidate: Michael Powers
Michael Powers is a petitioning candidate for first selectman, running, he said, for his daughter Eleanor, who he expects to be a lifelong resident of Wilton “and for every single resident of Wilton.”
Powers and his wife Lucia moved here in November 2015 because they “wanted the best community to raise a family.”
The youngest of five children whose mother was an immigrant from Ireland, he was raised a Catholic and he and his family are parishioners of Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church. “My parents instilled in me a deep sense of faith and an unyielding work ethic,” he told The Bulletin.
Powers received a bachelor of science degree in finance from Fairfield University and his Juris Doctorate from Pace University School of Law. He is admitted to the bar in New York and Connecticut and has a successful business-law and financial consulting practice.
“As an attorney, who is also a certified public accountant, I have provided businesses and individuals with the tools they need to thrive financially while navigating through complex local and federal regulations.”
While he has never held public office, over the last 25 years he has been an active member and leader of numerous community-based and professional associations, including president of the Norwalk Lions Club and president of the New York Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. With the latter, he helped professionals in the financial and government sectors learn and implement new tactics in discovering fraud and implementing strategies to dismantle fraudulent schemes.
A lifelong Republican, he said he believes “deeply in the cornerstone of Republican values — minimal tax burden on both individuals and businesses, economic growth, education, transparent government, and government accountability.
“My ‘Wilton First’ platform encompasses my values and vision for the town’s fiscal and educational future,” he said. “My vision for Wilton includes lowering the mill rate, spending sensibly and fostering a thriving business community. I aim to maintain, and bolster, Wilton’s top tier educational system. Under my leadership, Wilton will preserve its status as a historic small-town while modernizing its economy. I am intimately familiar with the Town Charter and the policies and procedures of the town government. I have combed through the town’s finances and identified areas upon which improvements can be made.”
Chief among his initiatives, he said, is to increase the value of homes in Wilton.
“Home values are inversely correlated to the mill rate,” he said. “As the mill rate goes up, the home values go down. Buyers of homes focus on the total monthly expense of purchasing a home. The calculation is simple, Principal + Interest + Taxes + Insurance = Payment.
“The payment is usually the constant in the equation, where all other portions of the calculation are variables. With interest rates exceptionally low these days, a home buyer can pay more for a home and the demand for residential real estate should be on the rise,” he said. “Unfortunately, with the high mill rate in Wilton, the mill rate increases in recent years and the uncertainty of future mill rate increases, demand for homes in Wilton has dropped. The mill rate issue coupled with the exodus of families from Wilton once their children graduate high school creates a vicious circle that requires attention.”
Powers said he would review town expenditures — particularly the Board of Education’s — to ensure a minimal mill rate.
“Contrary to a popular misconception,” he said, “pursuant to the Town Charter, the first selectman has the authority and an absolute requirement to conduct ‘…a continuous review of the current and projected fiscal…needs of the Town and, on the basis of such review, assuming leadership in the development of appropriate programs to meet such needs.’ Town Charter, § C-15A(3) ‘The First Selectman shall conduct a continuous review, under the general policy direction of the Board of Selectmen, of the financial need and budget requirements of the Town. The First Selectman may request and shall be entitled to receive at any time a statement of the current and projected financial position and needs of any office or Board of the Town,’” he said, citing Town Charter, § C-20D.
Powers said he would also seek to increase the number of businesses within Wilton.
“As it exists now, Wilton is barely even able to tread water when it comes to economic development,” he said. “I have reviewed the minutes of the Board of Selectmen and have witnessed no real propositions put forth to increase economic development within Wilton. We must make Wilton attractive and competitive for commercial growth.
“Based on Wilton’s emergency services’ needs, requests by the residents of Wilton and the needs of large and small businesses, I would recommend forming a Municipal Broadband Company (MBC). This MBC can assist in the outdated emergency service communications, provide large and small businesses with massive bandwidth for commercial needs and offer residents affordable options to internet access, all at massively greater speeds and reliability then what currently exists.” He added that underground wiring is the only option currently.
Powers noted these are just a few points of his platform and who he is as a candidate.
“This election I want voters to have a dynamic choice. I want residents to know that I am a candidate who is experienced to put Wilton First and govern by listening to the voice of the many and not the whispers of the few,” he said.