Christopher Davey and Alison Romkey

Board of Education candidates Christopher Davey and Alison Romkey also spoke at the October candidate forum at the Bolton Senior Center.

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Nicole Sullivan

At last week’s candidate forum at the Bolton Senior Center, Board of Selectmen candidate Nicole Sullivan shared what brought her family to Bolton and how she’ll draw on her professional experience as an engineer to help make Bolton better.

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Straight Talk about Audits; or, Why Our Tax Dollars Might Be at Risk

Recently, questions have been raised about the current Town administration’s handling of Bolton’s application to the State for reimbursement of eligible costs of the Bolton High School renovation project. This post is an attempt to give voters some information about this issue.

BHSUnfortunately, what little has been put out by the Republican leadership has been misleading at best and has done little to increase our understanding of what went wrong, what the consequences have been, or what consequences the Town might still face.

In fact, we might not have known anything about this problem if a group of concerned citizens had not shown up at the March 7, 2017, Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting to ask pointed questions of the First Selectman and the Town Administrator (read the minutes here).

When the BHS project was approved by referendum, the voters anticipated that the Town would be able to take advantage of State reimbursement funds available for school renovation. A State grant was sought and obtained to partially fund the project.

However, State funds are not paid up front—they are paid in the form of periodic progress payments to reimburse a percentage of eligible costs, with a “hold back” of 5% that is paid, if at all, after the Town makes a final submission of project costs and documentation and the State completes a final audit of the project.

Pending reimbursement by the State, the Town funded the project by borrowing some of the money and by taking some from the Town’s fund surplus or “rainy day fund.” (The administration has referred to this as the “Town borrowing from itself.”)

We should realize, however, that when money is taken from a surplus fund, the town loses interest income: Money that’s not there doesn’t generate interest, and the lowered fund balance could eventually effect our bond rating if the money is not replaced.

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Kim Miller

Please take few minutes to watch Kim Miller’s presentation at last week’s candidate forum at the Bolton Senior Center.

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Eric Bevans

On October 26, the candidates for First Selectman and the Boards of Selectmen, Education, and Finance participated in a candidate forum at the Bolton Senior Center. Our thanks to the Senior Center for hosting the event and to the residents who came out to hear from the candidates.

Here’s the talk Board of Finance candidate Eric Bevans gave. His is a newer face in town, so please take just a few minutes to get to know him better!

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Congratulations, Bessy Reyna!

This Saturday, poet, journalist, activist, and Bolton resident Bessy Reyna will be honored at a gala ceremony for the 2017 class of inductees to the Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame (IHHF). The gala takes place at CCSU in New Britain. Tickets for the event are available here.

The IHHF “Celebrates the diverse ethnic heritage of our state by honoring individuals and institutions, who exemplify the best of their immigrant heritage and have made outstanding contributions to the cultural, economic, and civic development of the state.”

Bessy was born in Cuba and raised in Panama. A former opinion columnist for the Hartford Courant and now a writer for Identidad Latina and CTLatinoNews.com, she writes about gender, ethnicity, and equality. In 2012 she was honored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. She is also the recipient of numerous literary awards.

The importance of immigrants to Bolton is indisputable. Whether they be Italian, Portuguese, Latvian, Indian, Turkish, or Cuban, whether they are new arrivals to town or trace their roots here back generations, the mix of backgrounds is a key part of the vibrancy of our community and enriches us all. Congratulations to Bessy for this honor!

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Bessy Reyna (left) with John Toomey and Susan Holmes at the Bolton Democrat of the Year celebration in September 2017

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Interview with Nicole Sullivan

Today we sat down for a quick interview with Nicole Sullivan, candidate for Board of Selectmen.

Q: Of all the towns in Connecticut, why did you choose Bolton?

My family had been living in a neighboring town, in a great little neighborhood, in a great little house. But our oldest daughter was getting close to starting school, and we weren’t in love with the school system. So, I did what I do: I jumped in and did copious amounts of research!

Bolton has great schools, and it’s a great location for our commute to work. So it made our short list. When we found the neighborhood where we live now, it was a done deal! Every day I’m thankful we found Bolton. Moving here was the best decision we ever made. We love this town!

What does Bolton do right?

Bolton’s schools have a long-standing reputation for excellence. I could cite many, many statistics to back that up, but the most important thing for us is that they’ve been backed up by the very positive experience we’ve had with everyone we’ve worked with in the school system.

I love the sense of community in Bolton. There are so many great activities that make this town wonderful to live in. From the summer concerts on the green, to the Memorial Day parade and Family Day, to the recent fire department tanker dedication, to every ice cream social and town dinner. There are countless ways to join in the community here.

What could Bolton do better?

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what is going on around town. Even the town activities I just mentioned aren’t widely advertised. If you know where to look for information, you can most of the time find it. But, even then it can be challenging to know what’s going on! The town website is often out of date, and the website design is not the easiest to navigate.

Getting information about what’s going on shouldn’t be that hard. Not for community events, and certainly not for more serious town issues!

What in your background will help you make improvements when you’re on the BOS?

In my day job at Pratt & Whitney, one of my main functions is to work as a DIVE team leader, which essentially means I lead teams working to solve big problems.

I’ve been acting in this capacity for about ten years, and on every team I’ve been on, communication has always been an item that needs improvement. So, I have lots of experience trying to figure out who needs what information and how to get it to them. I’m confident I can translate that professional experience into improved communications at the town level.

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BOS candidate Nicole Sullivan with BOF candidates Eric Bevans and Robert DePietro.

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