Wilton First Selectman candidate: Lynne Vanderslice
First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice would like another term in office to continue her work to lead Wilton into the future.
“My administration has moved Wilton to a better position financially, while enhancing the quality of life. Yet, there is more work to do,” she said.
Vanderslice, 61, is a 32-year resident of Wilton, and was first elected as the town’s chief elected official in 2015.
She previously served as vice chair on the Board of Finance, and is treasurer of the executive committee of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, the regional planning agency.
First Selectman candidate
Current job: First Selectwoman, Town of Wilton
Education: BS accounting, Bentley University, Waltham Mass.; Certified Public Accountant
The most important issue in this election: Cost of government and affordability of resulting taxes are the top concern. My administration returned $3million in savings. Average annual budget increases were .82%. In my next term, I will continue streamlining work processes, collaborating with other municipalities and the BOE, improving efficiencies and prudently managing town finances.
Other issues: Other priorities: Infrastructure demands including roads, stadium track, recreational amenities and town buildings. Master planning for alternative housing and a vibrant Wilton Center. Continuing environmental initiatives, including reducing waste. Encouraging appropriate development. New partnerships with the BOE. Addressing negative impacts of the statewide economy and the State’s financial health.
Family: My husband and I are 32-year residents of Wilton. Our son is an attorney in Washington, DC
Previous elected offices, community group affiliations: Board of Finance-Vice Chair; A Better Chance of Wilton-President, Vice President, Housing Manager, Building Committee Chair, College Coach, Fundraiser; Wilton Library Association-Board Member and Development Chair; The Wilton Playshop-Treasurer; Student Outreach Program-Founder and President/COO; IRS Volunteer Tax Assistance Program-Tax Preparer.
Campaign website: www.lynnevanderslice.org
She has been involved in a number of community organizations, including A Better Chance of Wilton, the Wilton Library Association, the Wilton Playshop, Wilton Boy Scouts, Newcomers & Neighbors, Wilton Community Assistance Fund, and Wilton Youth Soccer.
A hands-on CEO, Vanderslice is not afraid to tackle challenges.
In the past four years, when she has overseen the town’s finances and operations, the town has returned budget savings of more than $3 million. She said she is also proud of working to deliver the Miller-Driscoll school renovation project $6 million under budget and ahead of schedule.
Vanderslice has a number of accomplishments at town hall. She has streamlined town government and reduced the number of employees; implemented technology to facilitate residents’ interactions with town government; upgraded roads and recreation infrastructure; supported environmental enhancements, including expanding solar, and improvements in and around the Norwalk River.
Taking a pragmatic approach to problem-solving, Vanderslice said she likes to build consensus among people of different views. That approach has resulted in sharing of services between the town and schools and a joint solar project between Wilton and Weston.
With a sense of community, Vanderlice listens when residents have concerns about issues and has led them through things such as Aquarion’s Cannondale application, state-proposed school regionalization, the devastating storm of 2018, and a proposed roundabout at Belden Hill and Wolfpit Road. She also championed the Board of Education’s alternative school proposal.
One of her priorities, if reelected, is to continue to reduce town costs, while maintaining quality services. She supports “appropriate” economic development to manage property taxes and their impact.
“Over the last four years, my administration has addressed both costs and economic development to slow the growth of taxes. We streamlined town government by reconsidering positions as they became vacant, rebidding services, and sharing personnel with the Board of Education. We are working with other municipalities for shared cost reductions, including the shared solar project with Weston and the shared public safety facilities study with four other neighboring communities,” she said.
She is very mindful of the town budget. “Our requested annual average budget increase was 0.82 percent. Our $3 million in returned budget savings offset those increases. In my next term, we will continue to work in the same manner with our focus on the drivers of increases, including employee costs, medical costs and trash waste/recycling-related costs, thus ensuring the most cost-efficient town government possible.” she said.
Vanderslice said she will continue to advocate for legislative changes to allow the town to have better control and management of its costs and decision-making. “This includes binding arbitration reform to allow a more equitable process for both the town and Board of Education,” she said.
She encourages development along Route 7, which is “both responsible and respectful of our history,” and is a site for alternative housing for those seeking to move from or are not ready for single-family homes.
She also supports new residential housing, close to Wilton Center, to help provide needed density to support a vibrant center. “In my next term, master planning for the center and Route 7 around the center will be a priority,” she said.
Another of her priorities is to make investments in infrastructure and programming to continue to attract and retain residents and maintain Wilton’s quality of life.
“We need to continue the acceleration of road paving, replace the stadium track, address the need for more field time, move forward the recommendations of the Schencks Island/Merwin Meadows study, and maintain and continue work in the area of the Norwalk River,” she said.
Less popular, but necessary, she said, is the work to be done on the town campus buildings. “The building committee is taking a comprehensive approach to their work to ensure the most cost-effective recommendations,” she said.
She also plans to continue to investigate and implement programs like the recent senior and prescription discount programs and the neighborhood assistance program for Wilton nonprofits. “We are currently reexamining the senior tax relief program to ensure it is fully utilized and meeting the needs of seniors,” she said.
Another priority will be to continue improvements to the town’s responsiveness and take proactive measures to identify residents’ needs and concerns.
“The implementation of SeeClickFix, the new town website, e-alerts, increase in meeting broadcasts, the use of Facebook, lunches and walks with Lynne and community policing initiatives have all resulted in town government being more connected to residents and thus more responsive,” she said.
Improved public engagement has resulted in change, she said, such as the reorganization of the Department of Public Works, which now has more employees working in the field. The town has also become more proactive on blight, and Parks and Recreation has developed new programming based on public feedback, including a quick response to the need for afterschool care, Vanderslice said.
‘My experience and my demonstrated financial and management skills make me the best person to continue to positively navigate the town during these important times,” she said.