Mayor Ben Blake has announced his intention to seek reelection in November. And while the Republicans haven’t identified any contender by name, they say they have several people interested in running for the seat.
Blake announced his plans to seek another two-year term in a press release sent last week by Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith.
“I love serving the people of Milford,” Blake said in the release. “I wake up every day feeling honored to have been given this opportunity. I am grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement I have received regarding my decision to seek another term as mayor.”
Blake said that during his time as mayor the city has come together as a community “to face formidable challenges and tragedies, but also to celebrate countess achievements and successes.”
“Together we have passed austere budgets by driving out wasteful practices and investing in infrastructure and efficiencies,” Blake said. “We have sought out and implemented new revenue streams to offset operational costs. As a result of our efforts the three premier rating agencies, Fitch Rating, Moody's Investors Service and Standard and Poor's Rating Services, have all rated Milford as AA++, noting Milford's finances are 'stable, prudent and healthy.' These reports make us feel proud of the fiscally responsible decisions we have made.”
Blake cited accomplishments over his past 3.5 years as mayor and said there remains much to do.
“Therefore, I have decided to ask the people of Milford to allow me the honor of serving another term as their mayor,” Blake said.
Milford Republican Town Chairman Paul Beckwith said he has met with at least three Republicans interesting in doing an exploratory regarding a potential run for the top city seat. He expects there will be a decision by the end of May, followed by the Party Convention in July.
Those interested include at least one former elected official, Beckwith said.
After the Democrats released their statement last week saying Blake would seek reelection, the Republicans released their own statement.
“This week’s announcement by Mayor Blake comes as no surprise,” Beckwith said in the press release. “Despite rumors of the mayor taking a job in the Malloy administration, we have always felt that the mayor would seek re-election.”
Beckwith took issue with Blake’s performance in some areas, saying, “The last 3.5 years under Mayor Blake the citizens of Milford have seen a continued rise in property taxes and spending, a school system in constant flux, an attempt to close Harborside Middle School, an unpopular parking garage, and most recently the spending of overtime dollars for public works to remove snow from downtown for a parade.
“His new revenue streams are actually hidden tax increases for services Milford taxpayers already pay for through property taxes,” Beckwith said. “And now he takes credit for the cities AA++ bond rating, a rating established well before Mayor Blake was elected through the prudent fiscal management of past Republican administrations of Fred Lisman and Jim Richetelli.”
Beckwith said the GOP plans to run a full slate of candidates this fall “to give Milford voters a clear choice for change in 2015,” with an eye toward prioritizing expenditures and providing a “transparent” government.
Currently the job of mayor in Milford pays about $99,000.