Candidates Heiser, DiPreta Speak At Library For Special Election

Two of the three candidates met at the library to discuss issues before next week's special election.

With April 27’s special election less than a week away, the three candidates looking for a six-month position on the Board of Selectmen are ramping up their campaigns and looking to secure their individual platforms.

Signs for current Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark, Board of Finance member Marty Heiser and Independent Party member Tony DiPreta line the streets of Ridgefield.

Wednesday night at the library, Heiser and DiPreta spoke at an informal event organized by the Rotary Club of Ridgefield about some of the issues they hope to address if elected to the position – Kozlark did not attend the forum due to a miscommunication, according to both her and Rotary Club member Alex Karasanidi.

Heiser introduced themselves to the small crowd in the Dayton Room before answering a few questions from Karasinidi and a some from the audience.

Both Heiser and DiPreta spoke about running Ridgefield more like a business to save the taxpayers money and to make town government more sustainable.

“Job number one is, we need to have a business-friendly environment,” Heiser said. “The branding of Ridgefield is one of the most important things we can do.”

DiPreta mentioned bringing more people into town to start and shop at stores.

“What I would do here is find out what people need,” DiPreta said. “Bring shoppers in from other towns – advertise it.”

DiPreta also spoke about creating a balance in government between “everything in Ridgefield” to make sure taxes aren’t raised for individual groups of people.

To the same question posed by Dom D’Addario, Heiser said sitting on the Board of Finance has given him a “thick skin.”

“In Ridgefield, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” Heiser said. “We’ve got a great school system and one of the lowest crime rates in the state – but I would absolutely want to keep Ridgefield affordable for the people in Ridgefield.”

The biggest problem in Ridgefield, Heiser said, is “navigating through the tough economy we’re in.”

DiPreta agreed, saying also that drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers is an under-discussed issue.

A recent decision by the Selectmen’s current board came under fire by Heiser in particular: The town is switching insurance brokers from HD Segur (the MIRMA mess) to a local company, Carnall Insurance, which was not the lowest bidder among three companies vying for the account.

“It was a terrible decision,” Heiser said. “Yes, they’re local, but it doesn’t mean you go with the more expensive carrier – it’s not a private-sector mindset, and that type of attitude costs the taxpayers.”

Both Heiser and DiPreta spoke about their positions against surcharges at the schools, both in general and for the pay-to-play program implemented for high school athletics.

“It’s not a good idea,” DiPreta said of charging families for athletics. “It’s not fair for kids who can’t afford it.”

“If a school decides to have sports programs, the school should be in it all the way,” Heiser said. “Where does it end? Do we start charging when someone needs the fire department, or if someone uses the roads?”

One particular issue that divided the two was the idea to close an elementary school at some point to save the town money.

Heiser said, “We need to be prepared and ready to close a school once we reach the (enrollment) number 2000.”

DiPreta stood against closing a school and offered to look at other alternatives in the budget.

The small showing represented a town on spring break, but next week’s election will mark a return to business as usual for Ridgefield.

Voter April 22, 2011 at 12:52 AM
Maureen, if you are out there, I'd like to hear your take on what transpired.
John Symon April 22, 2011 at 02:19 AM
This is disturbing. If she can't find a Rotary Club meeting (that she committed to attending) how can she serve the town? Makes one wonder.... Or, she wasn't pleased at her first debate performance and figured she'd just skip the second one? Maureen.. talk to us?!
Tony Di Preta April 22, 2011 at 03:02 PM
To All, Alex Kasaniti The coordinator of the event, Rotory made shore that we the candidates were notified 3 times place,time, and ground rules of the debate.thank you ROTORY,great job ALEX.
Voter April 22, 2011 at 04:56 PM
Tony, can you cut and paste the three confirmation emails onto this forum thread, complete with header so we can see who received the email? Thank you.
Tony Di Preta April 22, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Thank you for your comments, Christine, good try,you had a bad experience with another TONY, I'M proud to be an Italian/American. I will be proud public servant in RIDGEFIELD. stereotyping we don't need.
Christine E. April 22, 2011 at 07:26 PM
I'm proud to be an Italian too - just because the last name isn't, doesn't mean i'm not one. Are you not the Tony DiPreta that owns the Soccer store, father to a graduate of RHS class of 2011? I think i have the right guy.
Christine E. April 22, 2011 at 07:26 PM
2001, sorry.
Tony Di Preta April 22, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Christine, no problem....
John McNicholas April 23, 2011 at 09:46 AM
This failure to attend just makes things more confusing. Is Mrs. Kozlark worried about answering questions about the "SLUSH FUND" issue. Sounds like there is more to the story. Speak out Mrs. Kozlark tell us the truth and not your sanitized response in the Press. Lets have an independant FBI Investigation of this matter as it is public funds we are talking about and not some campaign funds. Get Mr. MArconi to call for an investigation!! Oh wait, maybe this is not wanted as maybe it was earmarked for that and the tax payers found out about it. Tell the truth Mrs. Kozlark Now!!! Call for an investigation. Get all the info out now. Not later.
interestinridgefieldeducation April 23, 2011 at 10:44 AM
John, Your posts are comical. Thank you. Reading your post is better than reading the Inquirer or Globe when I check out of the supermarket. The FBI? Really? I'm sure that you think that these posts help to discredit Ms. Kozlark but really they seems to support your distrust of local government and conspiracy theories. Keep 'em coming. I think we all enjoy the entertainment.
John McNicholas April 23, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Interestinridgefieldecucation: It is smug and sarcastic remarks such as yours that are really the problem. If you had any guts as a Ridgefield resident and taxpayer you would identify yourself. Otherwise I take your comments as praise as you dont think people believe you are from Ridgefield. The facts speak for themselves. Who gave them the right to hide public money?
Mannix April 23, 2011 at 06:33 PM
John, why didn't you bring up this fund issue when other republican boe members were up for re-election in the years since 2006?
Ridgefield Mom April 23, 2011 at 09:49 PM
John- have you actually read the auditor's report? I would suggest that you do so before bringing up the FBI.
John Symon April 24, 2011 at 01:22 AM
Tony, Do you realize that posting political signs on telephone poles and state property is against the law -- in addition to being annoying? Would you mind removing the illegal signs your supporters have placed in support of your candidacy?
John McNicholas April 24, 2011 at 02:22 AM
Ridgefield Mom: Again, whomever you are--Let the chips fall where trhey may. If public funds and the pu blic trust were vilated they deserve wjhatever the consequences. Republican or Democrat. This is not party politics its the public trust. Should you wish to continue the blog please identify yourself and stop hiding.
John McNicholas April 24, 2011 at 10:14 AM
Believe me, Had I known about this issue earlier I would have called for the same thing. Republican or Democrat it doesnt matter. It would have been better now is Mrs. Kozlark and Mr Heiser made this an issue earlier sop that it could be fully vetted for the public. Mrs. Kozlark is ot a Selectman and should be all over it. Instead she is trying to bakdoor out of the issue.
John McNicholas April 24, 2011 at 10:15 AM
Be glad to. Please send it to my e-mail john.mcnicholas@yahoo.com.
Tony Di Preta April 24, 2011 at 12:17 PM
Hi John Symon, Happy Easter, no state law on sings,don't worry about a $5,oo sing,lets talk about the $100Million dollar DEPT that Ridgefield is in, plus %4 interest total $104million. Thanks TONY DI PRETA , NEED YOUR SUPPORT, THANKS.
John Symon April 24, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Tony, don't make inaccurate statements. A person, firm, or corporation may not affix to a telephone, electric light or power pole or to a tree, shrub, rock, or other natural object in any public way or grounds any playbill, picture, notice, advertisement or other similar thing without a written permit from the town or borough tree warden, city forester, or transportation commissioner, as appropriate for the object and jurisdiction. Violators may be fined up to $ 50 for each offense (CGS § 23-65). Each object placed in violation of this prohibition constitutes a separate offense. Anyone who deposits or throws any advertisement within the limits of any public way or grounds, or upon private property, unless it is left at the door of the residence or place of business is subject to a fine of up to $ 50, imprisonment for up to six months, or both for each offence (CGS § 23-65(c)). Do you have permission from the town?? Give me 5 minutes... I know it is wrong to put them within state right-of-way. Get permission from land owners. You lost a vote from my wife.
Tony Di Preta April 24, 2011 at 12:59 PM
THEN ALL ' TAG ' sales sings have the same problem, I don't want to make this a federal case over political ads, we have an opportunity to elect someone like myself, no self interest, a voice for all your concerns and the taxpayers of RIDGEFIELD. thanks TONY DI PRETA further more it' against the law to remove them if there not yours.......
Christine E. April 24, 2011 at 01:15 PM
How can someone this illiterate and ignorant have any actual supporters. It blows my mind.
Blank April 24, 2011 at 01:33 PM
What's more important, the ideas being brought to the table or the spelling? If the world's best heart surgeon is about to give you a dire, last second by-pass operation, but suddenly you realize he can't spell your name, you gonna say, "Um... no thanks, even though I only have a few minutes to live, I think I'll wait for a better speller to come along."
Christine E. April 24, 2011 at 02:21 PM
The spelling is the least of my concern. I happen to think basic intelligence is important when running for a position that pays 6 figures in a yet still poor economy. No self interest? Sure. I'm sure every politician has no self interest. Mr. Symon has brought up a valid, accurate point about signage. The response to that point was borderline incoherent, and Mr. Di Preta clearly has no idea what he's doing. Politics 101 - you don't put signs on public property or private property without permission of the property owner. And yes, Mr. Di Preta...they can be removed. If I parked my car in your driveway, I bet you'd have it towed.
Tony Di Preta April 24, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Tony Di Preta April 24, 2011 at 02:49 PM
CAN we please...... focus on town issues not personal attacks. if you have a problem with the way this towns business is conducted, why dont you run, i did,i will again. TONY DI PRETA.
Tony Di Preta April 24, 2011 at 02:59 PM
THE position of SELECTMEN pays "0" if it did pay the 6 figures, i will be taken a PAY CUT. TONY DI PRETA NEED YOUR VOTE. THANK YOU HAVE A HAPPY EASTER,BOUNA PASQUA.
Neighbor April 24, 2011 at 03:29 PM
I think many people need to take a step back. What are you doing? Some well meaning citizens are offering to volunteer for the town and look at the abuse handed to them. Their intelligence is mocked. They are accused of crimes. Threats are made that the FBI should be called. SHAME ON YOU RIDGEFIELD! Is it any wonder why more people don't offer to volunteer in this community?
Tony Di Preta April 24, 2011 at 03:36 PM
THANK YOU {NEIGHBOR} never give in, TONY
John McNicholas April 24, 2011 at 04:24 PM
First of all lets understand we are all volunteers. Secondly, no one was accused of any crime. If one feels that it is inferred well then perhaps there maybe something that should have a closer look. I suggested the FBI as a non partisan investigator as the Attorney General of the State , the States Attorneys etc are all political and cant give a fair and honest review to get to the bottom of this problem. There were never any threats made and frankly I think "Neighbor" is jumping the gun and raising issues never raised.. I merely suggetsed we get to the bottom of this issue and get tot he bottom of it right now and end it. PS Christine: get a life and stop the personal attacks.
Tony Di Preta April 25, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Even the Danbury news left out an important statement about my platform,the crucial problem or not the roads even so they need fixing,it is the town DEBT, over $ 100million,the BOS/BOF have no idea how the keep it under control, there spending like drunken sailors, I CAN CUT IT TO %9 per year.


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