Sep 20, 2023
LITCHFIELD – Republican candidate for first selectman Norman Sauer used his first campaign forum to outline the priorities he would pursue if elected in November.
Speaking during a GOP candidate meet and greet at the Northfield firehouse on Tuesday, Sauer said his first action as the town’s chief elected official would be to assemble a taskforce that would be charged with developing ways to slow traffic in town and improve pedestrian safety.
The taskforce, Sauer said, would be named SAFE Neighborhoods and would consist of residents with experience in law enforcement, engineering, public works and municipal administration.
“We will leverage the data from our existing studies to drive solutions and develop a multi-prong approach and a prioritized system to make our streets safe again,” Sauer, who is challenging First Selectman Denise Raap, said before a crowd of 25.
Complaints from residents about speeding on town roads and state highways bisecting the town have been prevalent during his campaign, according to Sauer. A plan of action, he said, is necessary and would involve input from state police.
The town’s Traffic Safety Community Action Group has spent two years addressing traffic and pedestrian safety issues in the center of town and, working with the state Department of Transportation, has developed a series of preliminary recommendations.
The DOT is also about to begin and fund its own deeper study of traffic and pedestrian safety issues and will follow with a formal report for the Traffic Safety Community Action Group.
So far, according to Sauer, the effort has yielded little.
“A lot of talk and no action,” he said.
With his management background in the fashion industry, Sauer, who serves on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Borough of Litchfield Historic District Commission, said he is prepared for the first selectman’s job.
“I’ve dealt with contract negotiations, unions and budgets, and believe that experience would translate very well in meeting the challenges of running the town,” he said.
Sauer’s running mates for the Board of Selectmen, John Bongiorno and Daniel Morosani, participated in the meet and greet as did several other GOP candidates.
Bongiorno, addressing the issue of what to do about the worn condition of the Town Hall Annex in Bantam, said residents should be asked if spending more money on a study of a building that has been the subject of many studies over the past 20 years is acceptable.
“I’d like to see what they have to say,” Bongiorno said of residents. “The can has been kicked down the road for four years and it’s time to stop doing that.”
The town facilities committee is preparing to recommend a new architectural and engineering study of the building. The cost of the study has yet to be determined but estimates have pegged it at up to $200,000.