Clifford X. Carrignan
High School, Attended , Southern Connecticut State University 1973-1976
Sales Manager, SGS Tool Company Munroe Falls, OH
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
As the current incumbent with 8 years experience as 2nd Ward Alderman, I am extremely knowledgeable on not only the important issues facing our City but how our City operates and how to get things done. This takes time and experience to learn. I also have been asked to serve in 3 significant leadership positions during these past 8 years- 2 times as Chairman of the Planning & Development Committee and one term as Chair of the Government Operations Committee. I believe I have earned the trust of my colleagues on Council which is critical when trying to accomplish important projects. Some of my best experience comes from my “real job” as a sales manager for a tooling company. On a daily basis I need to make solution- based decisions for my sales staff and our customers. The skills developed in this role-listening, collaborating, finding common ground, providing results-all important skill-sets needed in the role of alderman.
What are your top three priorities if elected?
Charlestowne Mall The Charlestowne Mall is the single most important issue in the 2nd Ward. It is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. The worst thing that could happen is the closure of Charlestowne Mall. It would devastate the East Side of our City, significantly hurt property values-both commercial and residential-and reduce our sales tax intake. I believe the City should be willing to use every tool in its toolbox to foster economic growth in the east side corridor and Charlestowne Mall in particular. City Council is currently in the process of using different strategies to foster that revitalization and growth. We need to do all of this while keeping in mind that the Mall developers and the City need to respect our residential neighborhoods directly to the north of the mall. Continued Financial Stewardship In 2008/09 all of us felt the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. It established the “New Normal” regarding the decline of residential and commercial property values, EAV’s, etc. During that time, specifically 2009-2011, I chaired the Government Operations Committee, the Committee responsible for the City Budget. I am proud to say that the City has kept its high level of service to residents in a variety of areas, Fire, Police, Electric, Water and Public Works. We have collaborated with the various bargaining units with-in the City to avoid layoffs. We implemented a Voluntary Retirement Program in 2010 and a Voluntary Separation Program in 2011 that helped us reduce headcounts without sacrificing the quality of City Services. The City has not had a Tax Levy increase in the last 5 years while I have been on City Council. Additionally, we built a new fire station in downtown in 2009, built Red Gate Bridge in 2012 by securing $14 million in funding from non-City source amounting to almost 50% of the total coat, We have a good understanding of our revenue streams and excellent control of City Expenses, and our Moody’s Bond Rating currently is at its highest ever at Aa1. Successful completion of Phase 3 of First Street. We have waited long enough. The City has made a substantial investment in First Street in the form of TIF’s for infrastructure improvements. The TIF’s were implemented before the Great Recession of 2008/09. Commercial Development came to a grinding halt, property values plummeted and banks just stopped lending for these types of developments. The City has recognized the inherent market trends and has collaborated with the developer on any number of extensions of the Redevelopment Agreement. But the City cannot continue to cover the costs regarding the TIF through the General Fund. We are now seeing some activity in the commercial and retail development community and it is time to move from extensions to activity. I would look to the developers to present to the City, by early summer 2013, on how they plan to move forward specifically on Phase 3 of the development, the open space on the Fox River.. If the developer is incapable of moving forward in a reasonable amount of time, the City should consider looking at all options to generate building activity on this parcel of land.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
Freezing would imply not being able to reduce the levy. I believe under the right circumstance of increasing sales tax revenue the City can generate enough revenue to maintain the levy, if not reduce it. This sales tax improvement would come from the completion of construction on Rt. 64/Main Street allowing access into these business locations much easier, a revitalized Charlestowne Mall and strong commercial/retail development on the old St. Charles Mall site.
What one decision by the city council do you most disagree with and why?
I still think the City Council’s decision on Towne Center was a bad decision. City Ordinances state that once a development project is defeated the developer cannot bring forward another project for at least one year, nor can we discuss this property site with the developer. The CC vote to defeat the Towne Center development (8-2 vote) effectively closed down ANY development on this property for almost 4 years now. I have stated many times, I was not for the development of the project as it was brought forward. What I strongly believe is that nothing is accomplished without communication. By voting this down, we removed any opportunity for the developer to modify his proposal, to eliminate a majority of the residential on this property and focus on commercial/retail and we because we broke off communication nothing to date has been accomplished. We have lost 4 years of increased tax revenue, both property and sales to a decision that stopped communication.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the city council in the past year?
I think it is difficult isolating on a single accomplishment to one year. A City Council cycle runs for 2years years and even then trying to look at one item is difficult. I believe an elected official should be judged by the body of his or her works. If we look at my past 8 years as Alderman for the 2nd Ward there are a number of significant accomplishments to highlight: One would be the preservation of our neighborhoods from the encroachment of Big Box Stores, keeping Wal-Mart from expanding onto the Oliver-Hoffman property behind the Charlestowne Mall. Working with the various Homeowners Associations and a neighborhood group, we developed a strategy that lead to no big-box store next to our neighborhoods and Wal-Mart expanding in its current location, a win-win for all parties. Another significant accomplishment would be the fiscal health of the City. As Chairman of Govt. Ops Committee from 2009-11 and working with the Mayor and City Administrator, we were able to maintain city services, not increase the tax levy, avoid lay-offs of city workers, keep a strong reserve position and improve the City’s bond rating (to Aa1) all in the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Why should voters elect you to office?
There are three reasons to re-elect me to the 2nd Ward Alderman position: • Experienced Leadership • Outstanding Communication Skills • The Ability to get Things Done. I believe all three of these attributes are highlighted in the answers above. I truly look forward to serving the residents of the 2nd Ward for a 3rd term, and focus on the keeping St Charles the #1 City in the Country for Families.
Other Local Races
Richard “Dick” Sharp