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Paid for by the Westport Republican Town Committee, Judith Domkowski, Treasurer.

Approved by the Westport Republican Town Committee.

Westport Republican Statement of Principles


 

Westport Town Government exists to serve its citizens by performing those limited functions that are more effectively accomplished on a collective rather than individual basis. To this end, the Town’s officers and employees serve the taxpayers and are directly accountable to them. Westport’s elected Republican officials strive to listen to the needs and concerns of Westporters, respond respectfully to them, and act in the town’s best interest. 

Westport Republicans are justifiably proud of our town and seek to preserve our historic, educational, and artistic legacies. We are Westporters first and Republicans second. We welcome the participation of all citizens in town government and believe an informed, committed, and involved citizenry are necessary for our community’s proper functioning. Openness, creativity, the free exchange of ideas, spirited debate, compromise, and integrity are crucial parts of the democratic process that allow us to make the decisions on how best to lead our town. Civility is also an important virtue that Westport Republicans embrace. While differing opinions and conflicting points of view are an inherent part of the democratic process, Westport Republicans are committed to the respectful treatment of all participants in the political arena. 

 

Education
Westport Republicans believe that our school system is among the town’s most precious assets and that our world-class educational resources are a primary reason so many families choose to make Westport their home. We believe that educational success in Westport should be evaluated by the effectiveness of outcomes, not the sincerity of intentions, nor the magnitude of inputs. As Republicans, we strive to:

 

  • Provide the highest quality curriculum for all students across the full spectrum of educational abilities.

  • Set clear and measurable educational goals; regularly measure performance against them, reevaluate the goals, and take corrective action where necessary if student performance fails to live up to established goals.

  • Remain focused on the fact that our schools exist for one purpose and one purpose only, preparing our children to become productive and contributing members of society no matter what vocation or life-calling they chose to pursue. To that end, the fundamental priority for education spending is and always should be focused on the student and the classroom.

  • View non-student focused expenditures as exactly what they are – money not spent on students. As such, these expenditures should be vigorously scrutinized and not be permitted to drain resources unnecessarily away from the direct education of Westport’s children.

  • Provide adequate resources and leadership to preserve and protect the significant capital investment our community has made in the physical assets of our school system and ensure that our state-of-the-art facilities remain so.

  • Ensure that the impact of changing demographics on the town’s future educational needs is part of the town’s long-term planning process.

 

Financial Responsibility

The government’s stewardship of public resources is one of its most important responsibilities. Westport Republicans acknowledge this and advocate responsible management of the town’s resources. Respect for the taxpayer is our foremost responsibility.

 

  • Westport Republicans believe that fiscal responsibility is not simply a function of spending less. Value, not necessarily lowest cost, should be a significant factor in fiscal decision-making.

  • Where practical, Westport Republicans seek economies of scale and operational efficiencies. The town should seek to reduce the number of duplicative functions among town agencies and explore all possible synergy potentials in areas like payroll, maintenance, purchasing, etc.

  • Maintaining the town’s credit rating at the highest possible level is a top priority. Mishandling this issue could significantly increase the town’s tax burden by dramatically increasing the town’s borrowing costs and debt service expenditures.

  • Westport Republicans advocate a rigorous and disciplined evaluation process before spending town funds to acquire property. There are benefits (lower density, less traffic, reduced burden on town infrastructure and educational system) and costs (acquisition cost, lost tax revenue, upkeep costs) associated with property purchases that need to be carefully weighed before such decisions are made

 

Land Use

Westport is blessed with natural beauty from its riverfront, to its coastline, to green spaces, and backcountry roads. Westport Republicans will vigorously work to protect our natural resources and work to maintain Westport’s New England charm and small-town feel. As Republicans, we are strong supporters of private property rights and believe the role of government is limited when it comes to dictating how private property owners can use their land. 

  • Zoning regulations are the proper vehicle for establishing the parameters of private land use and Westport Republicans support effective, fair, and vigorously enforced zoning regulations.

  • We oppose town-supported or private litigation designed to limit the use of private property beyond those parameters contained in the zoning laws.

  • Westport Republicans oppose state-mandated mechanisms that allow private developers to bypass local land use regulations and see such mechanisms as a clear violation of the local sovereignty and the precepts of Home Rule.

  • Any new public land use requirement should first look to existing developed land before green field development is considered. 

  • Each town or state parcel in Westport should be evaluated to ensure that the current use of such parcel is being fully optimized for the benefit of the Town. 

  • Where possible, town functions should be combined in common facilities where synergies and cost savings opportunities are tangible, obtainable, and measurable. 

  • Westport Republicans support a long-term town plan that incorporates a comprehensive and integrated plan for all town facilities and seeks to incorporate Westport’s downtown, green spaces, and waterfront into a coordinated master plan to enhance the character and function of Westport’s town center.

 

Recreation
Westport Republicans view our town’s recreational amenities as another of our most cherished assets.

  • We support efforts to increase the safe and shared use of our roadways by vehicles, bicycles, walkers, joggers, and stroller, particularly within and between our existing recreational assets.

  • While our Compo, Burying Hill, and Old Mill beach facilities provide excellent community access to our shoreline along Long Island Sound, our community has become disconnected from the natural beauty of our Saugatuck riverfront. Westport Republicans support efforts to reconnect downtown Westport to the Saugatuck River and believe that any downtown redevelopment plan should incorporate efforts to this end. 

  • Westport Republicans support the current user fee based system used to fund much of our recreational programming, believing this system to be the most equitable way to fund our golf courses, pools, marinas, beaches, and recreational programs. 

 

Home Rule
Westport Republicans are strong supporters of principles of Home Rule and the constitutional prerogatives to keep as much decision making as possible with the people at the town and municipal level. We will resist unnecessary state and federal interference with our town’s affairs and will fight to maintain our right to govern ourselves and maintain the character of our town as we see fit. To this end, we also vigorously oppose the government’s abusive use of eminent domain to take private property not for the public good, but for the limited benefit of private interest under the thin veil of public benefit.

 

Environment & Energy Conservation
Westport Republicans believe that responsible environmental stewardship and financial responsibility are mutually compatible endeavors. Republicans should strive to ensure that the Town of Westport takes the lead in adopting green initiatives with proven effectiveness in areas such as energy efficient lighting, hybrid vehicles, and alternative energy sources for public buildings. These initiatives should be financially beneficial to the town or at least fiscally neutral.

 

Conclusion
We view this document as a living document that will be updated as necessary as our town evolves and our needs change. While this document attempts to articulate a broad Republican philosophy for the Town of Westport, each issue that comes before the Town is unique and will require thoughtful analysis and individual judgment by each of the town’s elected Republican officials.