[Editor's Note: The headline and dek have been changed. Palo has not specified what office he may seek.]
Democratic Board of Finance member Andrew Palo on Friday announced the formation of the Exploratory Committee “Palo for Trumbull.”
"The formation of the committee allows a potential candidate to raise money and conduct certain activities while determining whether to run for office," Palo said.
“Forming an exploratory committee allows me the opportunity to test the waters,” said Palo. “There are many issues in Trumbull right now which cause me concern, and which should concern every resident. In the coming weeks, I will decide how I can best address them.”
Palo said he has worked with both parties as a Board of Finance member, a post to which he was elected in 2009 as a republican. He became a democrat last year.
"My independent thinking didn’t sit too well with the powers that be in the Trumbull Republican Party. I have found a home in the Democratic Party, one where many thoughts and ideas are accepted and you do not have to cater to the thoughts of one or two individuals. I have worked with elected leaders from both parties, and I believe I have the respect of people on both sides of the aisle. I am someone who will not put party before people and I recognize that there are good ideas on both sides. I want to bring people together, and end this division and conflict which hurts Trumbull, and diminishes our town in the eyes of others around the state.”
Palo said Trumbull residents are being "poorly served by the constant political bluster coming from Town Hall and the partisan tactics of the current administration."
"Trumbull is not Washington, D.C., or even Hartford. We are a family town and we are all neighbors and we need to do a better job of working together. Less extremism, less partisanship, more community service," Palo said.
Palo said he would address the Water Pollution Control Authority specifically.
“Trumbull needs strong leadership to work on issues of great importance to our community. I have been very disappointed in the way the WPCA and the Herbst administration has handled our sewer issues. Trumbull residents pay one of the highest sewer use rates in the state of Connecticut," he said.
Palo criticized changes to WPCA billing that eliminated billing base on averages.
"Last year, the WPCA changed the way they bill residents for summer usage, and now includes outside water use such as irrigation systems, water for gardens and car washes, and to fill a swimming pool. We are charging residents a sewer use fee for water that never enters the sewer system, which is patently unfair," he said.
As a result users with irrigation systems are paying "hundreds" of dollars more than before. Also, the WPCA has not audited their accounts since 2004, he added.
Palo also criticized the Tim Herbst administration's handling of the North Nichols Sewer project, assessments for which have been $29,000 to some residents.
"We also have major decisions to make regarding the possibility of entering into a regional sewer authority. We have to determine what is in Trumbull’s best interests today, and for years to come. We need leaders who know how to work effectively with people in order to get the best outcome for Trumbull,” Palo said.
His listed his other top priorities as fiscally responsible spending, public safety, education and fair taxing.
“We need to prioritize spending on the things that are most important to Trumbull families. We cannot afford to step backward in either public safety or education and we must give residents and local businesses modest and predictable tax increases each and every year. We shouldn’t be using fiscal gimmicks like bonding operational expenses and using the general fund for one-time tax mitigation because it is not transparent or fiscally responsible for both the present and the future,” according to the finance board member.
Andrew Palo has lived in Trumbull for 14 years with his wife, Raelinda, who is a Trumbull native. They have two children, Andrew (age 9) and Alexa (age 5).