Milford mayor looks ahead to new term
Ben Blake, re-elected unopposed as Milford’s mayor on Nov. 7 to serve a fourth term, is looking forward to new challenges.
“This election had a little bit lower turnout than usual,” saud Blake. “Usually local elections have over 30 percent turnout and I think this time it was about 28 percent, a little bit light, perhaps it was because I ran unopposed. It was still a good election, we have great candidates that were elected - the voters in Milford really did select some good folks that are going to represent us for the next two years.”
Prior to his election as the mayor of Milford, Blake, a Democrat, served eight years on the town’s Board of Aldermen for the Fifth District, including terms as minority leader and as chairman.
Blake has noted efficiencies that have put into place that include a change in the way people are transported via ambulance, switching from private ambulances to city ambulances and personnel, resulting in $1 million in revenue, and also putting in place a “Toter” garbage collection, purchasing a fleet of garbage trucks that automatically empty the trash cans into the trucks, therefore reducing workers compensation claims.
“The key issues in any municipality are always two things, education and taxes — keeping taxes low,” Blake said. “In the last two years in Milford we have had two consecutive tax cuts so we are always mindful of the city’s purse and making sure we can do things more effectively and efficiently than ever before so that we can streamline our local city operations.”
“With education, it’s close to my heart; I’ve got some skin in the game. I have three kids going through the Milford education system so I have a real love for good equality, local education and I’m a product of educators, I come from a family of educators.”
“A goal is to have schools that are not just good enough but are ones we can really be proud of,” Blake said. “We also have a lot of grant funded projects that we’ll be finishing up over the next two years. We have grants that will help rebuild our shoreline and make sure our coast is more resilient to withstand some of the big storm surges we have had in the past. We have other projects too - we’ll be dredging the four duck ponds starting this week and I’d like to get some dedicated pickle ball courts and a splash pad at Eisenhower Park so that’s one of the bigger projects that’s on the horizon for this spring.”
“We have other projects that will improve the quality of life for Milford as well,” continued Blake. “I just got an email about a new company that would potentially be bringing in a few hundred people with them. In the last three years in a row we have had about 400 new businesses move to Milford each year. That’s a 26 percent increase in the new business starts in Milford and also a lot of businesses have experienced growth in our town. As part of this great economic renaissance we have had a lot of businesses come in and set up shop for the first time. We have a 96 percent occupancy rate right now for commercial spaces.”
As a fourth generation Milford resident, Blake grew up riding Bus “K” to Calf Pen Meadow and playing sports at Foran High before attending the University of Richmond in Virginia where he majored in History and Government and taught Civics class to local high school students. Upon returning to Connecticut, Blake attended Quinnipiac University School of Law and practiced law in Milford from 2004-2011.
Among his proudest accomplishments, Blake said , “Since I’ve been Mayor, we had Storm Irene and then Storm Sandy. The thing that I appreciate most about the city of Milford is how this community came together and rallied, neighbor helping neighbor and stranger helping stranger to get through these storms of biblical proportion. We had about 2,000 homes that were affected. We’ve had other tragedies and natural disasters that have shown the resilience that Milford has, too. Milford really is a special place. It has a real energy to it, great neighborhoods, great events most weekends for the public, good and great people rowing in the same direction to make Milford an even better place to live.”