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From the First Selectman – December 2023

July 4, 2024
Time to read:
Beth Heller wearing a black suit and smiling

I extend the warmest of wishes to each of you this holiday season.  I’m so grateful to all our generous neighbors who supported the Human Services Holiday Basket program providing tangible holiday spirit to our neighbors in need.  It truly does take a village.  May your holidays be cheerful and memorable, and may your new year be full of peace and joy.

This is my last column for the Woodbridge Town News.  I’ve enjoyed sharing news from the First Selectman’s Office including information about many projects, programs, challenges, and successes.  I’ve tried to bring you up to date, with full transparency, throughout my six plus years as your First Selectman.  I have loved serving this Town and am so grateful for the opportunity you have provided me.

Congratulations to the elected members of the new Board of Selectmen.  I know you had a very busy fall with your campaigns, and now the work begins!  I am confident that I pass Town govenance into capable hands.  First Selectman-elect Mica Cardozo has shown us he has the dedication and the energy necessary for the job.  I look forward to a fresh approach from a new team for continuing success in Woodbridge.

I am passing the torch onto the newly elected Board of Selectmen and a new Board of Finance that will oversee the FY25 budget process.  Please remember that all residents have a voice; Operating and Capital Budget presentations will be held in January and February, and then discussions will begin.  Residents are encouraged to ask any budget questions, or make suggestions to boards and commissions, or department heads.  Budget meetings can be watched live on Channel 79 and the WGATV YouTube page.  Videos of meetings that have occurred can be found as recorded written minutes on the Town website, and on YouTube.

I remind everyone that education expenses take up approximately two-thirds of the Town’s annual operating budget.  As the school districts’ budgets continue to increase without a corresponding increase in the Town’s grand list, the Town may be forced to reduce services and/or raise taxes.  It will be up to the Boards of Finance and Selectmen to make these hard choices.

Please join us on Wednesday, December 20 as we wish good luck to Executive Assistant Gerry Shaw on her retirement.  Stop by between 10 am and 2 pm in the main meeting room at Town Hall to wish her well on her next adventure, and thank her for sharing her wisdom, her expertise, and her good humor over the past 48 years.  She has consistently been the go-to person for seven first selectmen, countless town employees, and too many residents to count.  If you cannot attend the farewell gathering, we’re collecting best wishes and shared memories into a ‘Happy Retirement Keepsake Message Book’.  Please email your kind thoughts and well-wishes to to be compiled into a lovely book for Gerry.  All submissions should be made no later than Monday, December 18th.

I fondly say farewell and thank you to a terrific Town staff.  While it is time for me to begin a new journey, I want to thank all of my extraordinary colleagues here in Town government.  Your dedication and teamwork have inspired me.  Though leaving is bittersweet, I’m grateful for the meaningful work we have accomplished together.

This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.

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