Milford’s Blake seeking sixth term in top spot

Incumbent Milford Mayor Ben Blake

Incumbent Milford Mayor Ben Blake

Contributed photo / Provided by Ben Blake

MILFORD — Ben Blake said he has turned cost-conscious budgeting and a booming business sector into a winning formula for taxpayers — and it is his plan to continue that success for another two years.

The Democrat is seeking his sixth term in the mayor’s seat, and promises that six consecutive years of tax cuts for residents is only the beginning.

“Over the past two years, business continues to skyrocket as we outpace all other Connecticut towns and cities,” said Blake, who faces a challenge from Republican Peter Berube this November. “This past year alone, we’ve had 481 new businesses make Milford home. A tidal wave of economic development has helped grow our tax base to more than $6.7 billion.”

Blake said the business explosion has left the city with the largest grand list in New Haven County and one of the top ones in Connecticut. The mill rate sits at 27.68.

“All of this expansion has benefited Milford’s bottom line, supporting the overall budget,” Blake said.

In addition to tax cuts, Blake said his administration has focused on restructuring city operations to maximize the effectiveness of local government.

“Our cost-conscious philosophy has not only saved the city money,” Blake said, “but enhanced the services we provide our citizens.”

He said these strategies provided the city financial flexibility, allowing for work on projects that make the community more attractive.

“From paving more miles of street than ever before, to making Milford a more walkable and bikeable town, to building new world-class recreational facilities, to creating more downtown parking, we have been able to do more and invest more in improvements that make Milford more livable,” Blake said.

Even during the pandemic, Milford has continued to thrive, according to the mayor.

“We are proud of Milford's accomplishments — a tax rate that is fair with excellent services; pristine parks, beaches, and open spaces that enhance the quality of life for all,” Blake said, “and, a progressive optimism that turns potential problems into possibilities while pushing us all to work for a better, stronger, more innovative community.

“As we continue along this trajectory, we are also sure to safeguard the traditions, heritage, history, and attributes that make Milford the Small City with a Big Heart,” the mayor added.

Blake grew up in the city — from taking Bus “K” to Calf Pen Meadow Elementary to playing sports at Foran High School. After college, he returned to the city as an attorney and served in city government.

“Those who know me know that Milford has always held a very important place in my heart. It’s part of me and who I am,” Blake said. “I had the great privilege of growing up in this city and I want my kids — and, all our community’s children — to know the same Milford I knew growing up, the Milford I know today, the Milford I know we can realize tomorrow.”

Blake praised the community for regularly coming together, especially during times of extreme events such as Storm Sandy and Blizzard Nemo.

“I’m proud of the way the people of this city stand together, encourage each other, and support one another,” Blake said. “To be a part of this very special Milford family is an honor."

Blake, who formerly served eight years as a Milford alderman, including board chair, before being elected mayor in 2011, said that experience aided in his ability to lead the city through difficult times and create what he calls responsible budgets.

“As mayor, I’ve led our city with a steady hand and a firm belief that we can provide better city services, more efficiently, more cost effectively,” Blake said. “We’ve sought out inefficiencies and streamlined processes and procedures to ensure we deliver better, faster and cheaper.

“I ask that you judge my candidacy this election based on my performance as mayor,” he added. “In my case, there’s a substantial record; I’ve been an outspoken advocate for the things I believe in and my record clearly demonstrates my unwavering commitment to our residents.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com