Bristol council candidates debate

Published on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 20:55
Written by Lorenzo Burgio


BRISTOL -- At the municipal debate hosted by the Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce Monday night, candidates for City Council answered questions pertaining to their visions for Bristol.


Q: “What is your plan, as it relates to taxes in Bristol, and how do you plan to protect Bristol from the state budget?”

Barney: “Consolidation of services,” “regionalization” and “making sure we have plenty of taxpaying businesses.”

Fortier: “By increasing the value of all the property in Bristol - business property, residential property, because that benefits all of us.”

Mills: “Keeping taxes down is something we like to do, but we also have to spend that money and we’ve done that if you look around and what has happened in the city.”

Thibeault: “By continuously attracting businesses here and building up the grand list commercially is how we will reduce the burden.”

Carlson: “We got to continue to set aside funds, to get ready for a shock to our system” and “we got to continue to use our resources wisely.”

D’Amato: “Grow the grand list, efficient management of government, wise spending - those three things are going to protect businesses and homeowners.”

Hahn: “We have to pay attention and grow the grand list, that’s why is dumbfounds me why the downtown project has only been taken up during election seasons.”

Medeiros: “I am fully committed to making sure the City Council explores every option, exhausts all possible solutions, before we raise taxes.”

Howe: “While everybody else in the state has people going out, moving to South Carolina, North Carolina, we have businesses coming in.”

Kelley: “A drastic change in municipal governance” and “the AAA bond rating is the result of strong investment decisions years ago” not “the current administration.”

Preleski: “We have had planning sessions already where we call for a temporary freeze on spending and discretionary spending and hiring until we get our arms around the budget.”

Zils Gagne: “Taxes may increase in the future, that’s inevitable as the cost of items increase as well, but we need to ease the burden on homeowners by continuing to increase our grand list.”


Q: “What recommendations would you propose to make city hall easier to do business?”

Carlson: “We need a business friendly, a user friendly, system in town, basically, through economic development. We almost need a business ombudsman.”

D’Amato: “Putting logical departments next to each other” then “couple that with some sort of business navigator” and “boards need to learn how to work together.”

Hahn: “We have to replace Ken Cockayne as mayor and put Ellen Zoppo-Sassu in as mayor so that we can proceed to develop business and move forward, in a fair and logical manner, and unbiased.”

Medeiros: “It’s important that we bring staff into that process to figure out where we can streamline, where we can make things more efficient to the users.”

Howe: “Before they [businesses] have to go through the process, the mayor has nothing to do with it” and “the mayor does not have a final say, the council has the final say.”

Kelley: “Bristol has the reputation amongst builders, of being a challenging place to do business” with “has an image problem,” and “a change at the top will go along way at solving that problem”

Preleski: “Mr. Howe, I disagree with you. I think it is the mayor’s fault to a degree” because “we have to have management by objectives and that’s part of why we have to be serious and do business differently.”

Zils Gagne: “Having some kind of liaison,” to help businesses with deadlines and navigating city hall, but also “coming into the electronic age” will also “attract to businesses.”

Barney: “Get a focus group of small business owners” with “the people who make the processes happened” so “they can really work things out together.”

Fortier: “We need better communications so that our residents know what’s going on at city hall” and “a change in leadership in at the top will make a difference in that.”

Mills: The Bristol Development Authority “should” have “a big enough staff” to “take this person through the process” and the city “should have a disciplined outline” for interested businesses.

Thibeault: “Use the innovation of technology at our fingertips,” similar to that at her job. “I know how to get it done I’d be glad to put my efforts to this task as well.”

Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at or at 860-973-5088.


City Council Candidates


1st District

Tony D’Amato, Incumbent, Republican

Eric Carlson, Republican

Gregory Hahn, Democrat

Josh Medeiros, Democrat


2nd District

Andrew Howe, Republican

Peter Kelley, Democrat

David Preleski, Incumbent, Democrat

Jodi Zils Gagne, Incumbent, Republican


3rd District

Brittany Barney, Democrat

Mary Fortier, Incumbent, Democrat

David Mills, Incumbent, Republican

Cheryl Thibeault, Republican

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Forestville, General News on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 20:55. Updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2017 22:22.