Putnam's mayoral candidates have their say

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Oct. 21, 2013

Tony Falzarano (D) is running against Barney Seney (R) for the position of Mayor in Putnam. They talked about conditions in town and what they would do to improve them:

Falzarano said, “We’re under a lot of construction in town. What are we going to do with the library, the armory, 88 Main Street? They’re all on the docket. All these things will only enhance our town. My opponent, Bulldoze Barney, wants to knock things down and rebuild. I want to keep things the way they are and repair, replace and get them running again.

“We’re in process of trying to expand the ash landfill to keep it open for another several years," said Falzarano. "That would help the taxpayer. I’ve been the chair of the Board of Finance for the last several years and I usually apply that money right to the tax base to lessen the burden on taxpayers. My opponent doesn’t want to do that. He wants to spend it. I’ve been the watcher of your pocketbook for years. I want to keep it that way.

“After having gone house-to-house-to-house, I’ve heard many people say, ‘Tony, don’t raise our taxes.’ The people overwhelmingly voted to renovate the high school to new, which is a $36 million obstacle. So they won’t feel the tax increase for a year to 18 months, but the tax increase is coming.

“I have more than 30 years in local government. I was on the zoning board, the zoning board of appeals, chair of the ZBA. I’ve been on Board of Finance for 28 years with more than eight years as chair. With that experience, and working with a $21 million budget, I think that puts me in a position to be the best candidate.

“I was a teacher for 39 years and an athletic director. I still coach basketball. I can relate to people. I’m very flexible. Barney is a hardnosed kind of guy. He has a background in the military and state police. That’s the way he is. I can compromise, and to me that’s the key. I get along with both sides of the aisle. I get along with all kinds of people. That’s a key attribute to my ability to be the leader that the town is looking for.”

Barney Seney (R) said, “The biggest issue facing Putnam today is its infrastructure, its roads, bridges and town buildings. And accountability. I’ve been going door-to-door, giving people a survey. They are coming back with issues they feel are important. I thought the library community center would be important because it’s an issue that’s coming up before the town now. It isn’t.
“People are saying roads and bridges, followed by the library community center, followed by a new town hall and sidewalks. This is the people talking. Even though we feel there might be other issues, these people are speaking to me through this survey, which is very interesting.

“When I started, I thought the library community center would  be at the forefront of the issues facing Putnam today. That survey is an eye opener for me. I asked six questions. How would you prioritize the infrastructure needs of the town? Do you feel your interests are being represented by the town leadership? Do you think the current structure of government consisting of mayor and selectmen is effective? Have you ever had a concern that was brought before the town leadership that was not resolved to your satisfaction?  Do you feel your tax dollars are being spent wisely? There was room for additional comments.

“These are the people, not the politicians speaking. I’m doing what the people are telling me they want done. “I was the First Selectman in Thompson for four years. I’ve already run a town of similar size. I’ve served on numerous boards. I was on the Finance Board, the redevelopment agency, the school board for St. Joseph School. I’ve been on different commissions. I know how government runs and I have the experience of running a town government.

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