Blog

20 Oct
0

Affordability For All

Dear Colchester Residents,

A recent Fox News Survey identified that 72% of voters were dissatisfied with the direction of the country. 58% of voters consider inflation and higher prices an emergency. More than one third, 35%, are living paycheck to paycheck with enough savings to last a month or less. According to Democratic pollster Chris Anderson “More households are living close to the breaking point, and more are also building up reserves, but the middle is shrinking.”

According to the United Way of Connecticut, a family of four (with two adults, one pre-schooler and one infant) needed to earn $126,018 to cover a basic survival budget of housing, food costs, and other essentials. Food insecurity among Connecticut adults living with children has nearly doubled from 12% to 23% in a year’s time.

As First Selectman, I have worked with stakeholders to establish an ARPA funded social service grant program to enable 40% of all households to get the assistance needed to help their families. If you need assistance, please contact the First Selectman’s Office or Youth & Social Services so we can direct you to the proper resources.

While assistance is important, it is also critical to ensure that our town remains affordable for everyone. As your First Selectman, I have provided the Town with relatively flat budgets by conducting top to bottom department level reviews and strategically utilizing our reserve accounts, unassigned fund balance, and ARPA funds. Strategic spending and increased revenue have helped keep taxes low.

There is only one candidate for First Selectman that will fight to protect your wallet from big government taxes and has a proven record of doing so, both as First Selectman and as a six- year member of the Board of Finance.

Sincerely,

Andreas Bisbikos

Colchester First Selectman

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13 Oct
0

Happy Birthday Colchester!!

Dear Colchester Residents,

Today, the great Town of Colchester will embrace a historic milestone as it celebrates its 325th Birthday.

Since its incorporation, Colchester has had a rich and storied history. It has been home to historic politicians, inventors, businessmen, sports dignitaries, and musicians. In the 1800’s, Old Bacon Academy progressively allowed the education of women and nonwhite students, while also educating future governors, senators, and a supreme court justice. It was the Colchester Rubber Company that created the first basketball sneakers in the 1890’s.

Our Town is home to heroes. General Henry Champion served as the Chief Commissary of the Continental Army under George Washington and fought in notable Revolutionary War battles like Bunker Hill. William J. Johnston served in World War II and received the both the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart fighting fascist forces in Italy. His story is legendary. As German forces were overrunning his position, he manned his machine gun seriously injured and without rest to buy cover for his unit’s withdrawal. He was able to make it back and provide valuable intelligence on German positions.

Colchester has also been a place where one’s American Dream can come true. People like my parents, who left Greece with two children in hopes of a better tomorrow, settled in the beautiful town of Colchester. My family established a successful business here, educated their children through the Colchester Public Schools system, and made their friends here. The acceptance, opportunities, and love that Colchester has provided for my family will be forever cherished.

There are many who share similar stories. While Colchester may be “Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow”, it is also where dreams come true.

Happy Birthday Colchester and God Bless Us All.

Sincerely,

Andreas Bisbikos

Colchester First Selectman

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12 Oct
0

Small Businesses

Small businesses are the heartbeat of our community. In less than two years, we have made historic progress. Please watch the video to discover all that has been done.

On November 7th, vote Andreas Bisbikos for First Selectman and together let’s continue to move Colchester forward.

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06 Oct
0

Charter Revision

Dear Colchester Residents,

During a second term, I will begin the process of Charter Revision to protect our form of government from backroom deals and corruption.

The first initiative will be to establish term limits for all elected and appointed officials including that of the First Selectman. Polls show that nearly 80% of Americans support term limits. Term limits reduce corruption and open our local government to new people with fresh ideas to solve our town’s challenges. Selectwoman Rosemary Coyle has been in power for over 12 years and has turned a blind eye to abuses of power. We need to be able to re-fresh leadership from the career politicians with ulterior motives.

The second initiative will be to make the town clerk and tax collector positions appointed, not elected. Elected officials can only be removed by a judge which explains the sense of entitlement that can lead to serious abuse. Gayle Furman, our current town clerk, is under investigation by the Attorney General, for the misappropriation of funds and the misuse of the town’s tax id. In the 90’s, Wanda Stula, a tax collector for the town of Colchester, was asked to be removed by the board of selectmen for illegally waiving back taxes. A few years ago, Tricia Coblentz, another tax collector, entered a separation agreement with the Town – which allegedly was over her attendance. The separation cost the town nearly $30K.

My final initiative will be to re-establish the Board of Finance’s power, which was accidentally removed through the last Charter Revision (We are currently under a Memorandum of Understanding that keeps the Board’s prior responsibilities intact). Losing the checks and balances of the Board of Finance would have a devastating effect on accountability and fiscal responsibility.

Sincerely,

Andreas Bisbikos

Colchester First Selectman

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29 Sep
0

Public Safety

Dear Colchester Residents,

During my first term, we made a historic investment in public safety. New electronic emergency signs were secured, rectangular rapid flashing beacons at crosswalks townwide were installed, and $135K in yearly tree removal has been budgeted. A public safety working group was also established with the purpose to strengthen collaboration with the community, increase transparency, and make public commendations.

The Fire Department has seen a revitalization, which began with the new hiring of Fire Chief Steven Hoffmann. Together we have collaborated in securing 24/7 town-wide coverage by hiring 2 new firefighters/EMS. In just one term, the Fire Department upgraded the UHF portable radios, upgraded the 800Mhz radio system, constructed a new roof for Fire Company #2, secured a new off road utility vehicle, secured a new boat and trailer, secured a new OHD fit tester, entered the fire marshal mutual aid agreement, secured over $100K in new apparatus equipment, and constructed a new parking lot at Fire Headquarters.

The Police Department is also a priority. Though they secured a new K9 unit and have made excellent hires to replace retirees, the time has come to expand their operational quarters. For years, life-long politicians have sat back ignoring the cramped spaces and the OSHA violations waiting to happen. I have taken the initiative to collaborate with our police department to design floor plans for the expansion of their operational quarters. I am the only first selectman candidate who has publicly committed to this expansion.

According to both the Fire Chief and the Resident State Trooper, the democrat first selectman candidate has made zero efforts to sit down to discuss public safety with them.

It is unfortunate that 10 months of rhetoric takes precedence over the public safety of our community.

Sincerely,

Andreas Bisbikos

Colchester First Selectman

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26 Sep
0

Parks & Rec

There has been a historic investment in our Parks & Recreation because our children are important. Please watch the video to discover all that has been done.

On November 7th, vote Andreas Bisbikos for First Selectman and let’s continue the Colchester Comeback together.

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22 Sep
0

Tradition

Dear Colchester Residents,

Tradition allows us to share common values and honor those who came before us. As First Selectman, I have invested in community events that bring us together. The Town re-established the Memorial Day Parade and increased its operating budget, 57th Fest was re-established as Celebrate Colchester, and a Celebration of Colchester’s 325th Birthday is on the horizon. As First Selectman, I will never waver in honoring holidays and the traditions associated with them.

On my first day in office, I removed the previous administration’s “Racism Public Health Crisis” proclamation. The democrat first selectman candidate proudly accepted the endorsement of the first selectman who unfairly labeled an entire community and stoked division.

I have also put an emphasis on historical preservation. There has been a historic investment in our town’s history which includes refurbishing the Youth Center Roof (Old Town Hall), revitalizing the Town Green and the Gazebo, and securing funding to preserve historic documents.

There has also been a historic investment in our Parks & Recreation because our children are important. A new playground, field irrigation, new pickleball courts, new basketball courts, new signs, a new pavilion roof at the Rec Plex was secured during my first term. As First Selectman, I am dedicated in continuing our Fields of Dreams initiative so that our children have excellent fields available to them.

Second term goals include establishing a permanent community ice skating rink, expanding parking at R8, establishing a new location for the Youth Center/Community Center, transitioning the current Youth Center into a museum/home for our Veterans, beginning the remediation of Norton Park, and completing the Senior Center.

There is only one first selectman candidate with a proven track record of getting the job done.

Sincerely,

Andreas Bisbikos

Colchester First Selectman

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15 Sep
0

Blind Eye – Part II

Dear Colchester Residents,

Upon the conclusion of an internal inquiry, it was determined that the town clerk had been utilizing the Historical Documents Preservation Fund to pay for hotel rooms and lodging, which is in clear violation of state statute. She had in her possession emails and documents specifically outlining what the Historical Preservation Fund was to be used for, including documentation from the Historical Preservation Grant Program administered by the Connecticut State Library that specifically outlines hospitality as an ineligible expense.

The Finance Department also identified that the Town Clerk utilized Absentee Ballot Processing Grant money to purchase a mini fridge for her office, which is not a permissible expense item under this grant.

The final identified concern was that the Town Clerk used the Town’s Tax-Exempt Status for a Hotel Room she purchased with her own money. She had no authorization to use the Town’s Tax-Exempt status for personal purchases and no authority to sign the form on behalf of the Town of Colchester as only the Finance Department may sign off on that form. These actions put the town at risk with the Department of Revenue Service.

Each Selectman reviewed all this information before the September 6th Meeting. Three of the Board of Selectmen (Rosemary Coyle, Denise Turner, and Debbie Bates) supported a motion to delay sending these abuses to the attorney general for review until after the town clerk’s reelection this November.

This unethical motion was an obvious attempt to sweep these abuses under the rug.

We cannot turn a blind eye to the behaviors of others, regardless of personal relationship or political affiliation. The attorney general’s office has received a formal complaint to investigate the town clerk and all investigatory information has been made available.

Sincerely,

Andreas Bisbikos

Colchester First Selectman

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08 Sep
0

Economic Development – Part II

Dear Colchester Residents,

While our Town has seen a tremendous comeback, it is important to keep the momentum going. The Town will continue to work with prospective businesses by keeping our taxes low, reviewing zoning regulations to ensure they put citizens and small businesses before government, and meeting with interested parties to ease their transition. As someone who has been around small businesses my entire life, I understand the plight of our hardworking entrepreneurs.

While past administrations may have slept on projects, I have re-energized initiatives. In my first term, the Town Green Revitalization Project was completed. In my second term, the Town is poised to see the Lebanon Avenue Streetscape Revitalization Project come to fruition. These enhancements will make one of the more neglected parts of town a very attractive one for prospective businesses.

Investing in green energy initiatives will be another important cornerstone. I recently signed a contract to bring the first-ever hybrid charging station to Colchester, with it to be installed at the Town Hall. Plans include expanding out to other locations as well. The Town is also very close to signing a solar lease agreement with Silver Brooks Solar which will net the town a lump total of $214K.

The Town will continue infrastructure improvements in public spaces with investments in our roads and bridges, begin the expansion of the operational quarters of the Police Department, oversee the construction of the Town Hall Roof, modernize the Town Hall’s HVAC, and refurbish the Water Towers. The Town is also exploring the privatization of its water systems and will continue to increase funds set aside for Open Space acquisitions that reduce the overall tax burden while securing our small-town feel.

Sincerely,

Andreas Bisbikos

Colchester First Selectman

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01 Sep
0

Economic Development – Part I

Dear Colchester Residents,

Our Town has seen a tremendous comeback during my first term. The Colchester Comeback Grant Program secured over $1M in ARPA funds to help small businesses affected by the Covid pandemic and demonstrated to our small businesses that Colchester is invested in their success. An additional $200K was also provided to support Non-Profits under the same program.

Building permits have grown exponentially with the Town seeing a total of $14 million dollars in real estate growth. That’s a strong signal that people are investing in Colchester. I’ve also embarked on a business tour highlighting and promoting local businesses in our community.

Colchester has new businesses such as Fornarelli’s, Wagging Tails Pet Shop, Pokemoto, The Color House, Central K-9, Town & Country Early Learning Center, and Moran Restaurant invest in our town. ARK Distillery is expected to open in the coming year while a major announcement related to Chipotle is on the horizon.

Local businesses such as InCord, Gano’s Power Equipment, Toyota of Colchester, and Shell Gas Station have expanded and revitalized their operations. I’m also the only first selectman in 15 years to make progress on the old Jack’s Chevrolet building and I’m proud to announce that the Granite Group will be officially expanding their operations there.

The Town has also worked with Frontier Fiber to expand fiber optics throughout the entire Town and has collaborated with Eversource in their investment of $20M into a natural gas project. Natural gas will become available in the coming years as a result. I also collaborated with S&S Worldwide to help secure funding from corporate lenders to ensure that the business would survive and keep jobs in the community.

The momentum is real.

Sincerely,

Andreas Bisbikos

Colchester First Selectman

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