Election over: Time to move forward

The election is over and now it is time to start addressing the issues that came up over the last month.

First, it will be important to find a good and qualified public works director to take over for Bruce Kolwicz, who held the job for a long time. Kolwicz retired the first of November. The post requires someone who knows the city and can work well with people while being on top of a number of technical projects, from roadwork to recycling management.

Next, there are some important matters coming up in our local schools that residents, especially parents, may want to stay on top of. The switch to Common Core Standards has already created change in terms of testing our students, and yet not many people are really clear on what Common Core Standards are. The school board has scheduled forums this month so parents can learn about the Common Core Standards and their implications for Milford students.

Of course, the city has to be ever mindful of taxes and keeping them reasonable for senior citizens and other residents who may be struggling to live on fixed or declining incomes. The challenge here is that Milford residents expect good services from the taxes they do pay, and in some cases, those services have been waning over the years. The library, for example, is open fewer hours now than it once was, and the budget for what should be a central part of the city is lower than that at libraries in surrounding communities. Milford officials need to be mindful of spending, but they also have to be mindful of providing quality services.

A senior tax freeze was discussed before the election. While some people may shiver at the thought, fearing that a senior tax freeze might heave a bigger tax burden on the rest of the city’s residents, it would be prudent to understand the financial implication of a senior tax freeze. There’s no sense talking about it without knowing the dollars. Despite our own economic woes, most of us do not want to see senior citizens forced to move because they cannot afford rising taxes.

The people displaced by Storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene before her continue to need the city’s attention and help in applying for loans and getting permits to rebuild. Chances are that with funding becoming available through block grants to get people started, the city’s building department may need some additional hands to get permits issued. City leaders need to look at staffing now and make that decision.

On a similar thread, department heads and the mayor need to constantly look toward the coast and be mindful of laws and grants aimed at shoring up the coast and protecting residents from future storm damage. The federal and state governments have dollars available for infrastructure improvements designed to protect Milford and other communities from the likes of Sandy and Irene. We trust the city will tap into those and pursue ideas and strategies for standing strong against storms.

We look forward to another two years of good bond ratings and steady government in the city of Milford.