PLYMOUTH - Elected officials began the week moving away from a divisive campaign season and into what they hope to be a constructive next few years.
An inauguration ceremony inside the auditorium of Terryville High School Sunday kicked off a third term for Mayor David Merchant. He was joined by 28 other residents in taking the oath of office on stage in front of family and friends.
“Now that the election is over I hope we can turn and focus on the good,” the mayor said. “There are so many wonderful people here that make this community great and that is what we need to focus on. This is a great place to live. If anybody has a perspective that is contrary to that I have no use for it.”
Several anonymous mailings attacking Merchant were made to residents over the last few months. The mayor indirectly referenced these in his speech Sunday, saying they cost “thousands of dollars that could have instead been donated to the town’s food pantry.”
Merchant’s son David Jr. also addressed the crowd, sharing his pride for this father.
“The Bible tells us when the righteous are in authority people shall rejoice,” he said.
The mayor shared his goals for the next term, centered on economic development and infrastructure improvements.
They include completing construction of the Plymouth Fire Station, as well as several newcomers to the Plymouth Business Park, and repurposing the Prospect Street School site, which has been vacant the last 20 years.
At the top of this list is Ultimate Wireforms, which is expected to build a 30,000 sq. ft. building on Swicklas Court, employing about 80 people.
“We have now filled every building that was vacant in our business park when we started four years ago,” Merchant said, later adding, “Our goal is to make Plymouth a better place when we leave than it was when we arrived.”
In terms of the state budget cuts he promised to minimize their negative impact on education in town.
“We are going to work together as a community to not let it affect our children in any way.”
In addition to the mayor, the town council, school board, finance board, library board, tax collector, town clerk and board of assessment appeals were sworn in Sunday. State Senators Whit Betts and Henri Martin gave each group the oath of office.
Master of Ceremonies Mark Fowler, also Terryville Schools Athletic Director, asked veterans and military servicemen in the audience to stand for applause in honor of Veteran’s Day. That roster included the mayor, who was serving in South Korea the year his son David was born.
Fowler went on to thank elected officials for their hard work.
“All of these public servants deserve our gratitude and respect for taking their time to serve others,” he said.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.