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Darien Republicans Push for Vote on 'Shuffle'

DARIEN, Conn. – First Selectman Dave Campbell will ask for a special session  of the Representative Town Meeting on Nov. 1, a week before Election Day, to vote on the Shuffle project that would relocate the town's senior senior center and Board of Education offices.

He and first selectman candidate Jayme Stevenson said they would be acting in the best interest of the town, and pledged to continue to be fiscally responsible if elected, the pair said during a press conference Wednesday.

In a press conference Wednesday, he and first selectman candidate Jayme Stevenson said they were acting in the best interest of the town, and pledged to continue to be fiscally responsible if elected.

“I feel the RTM will see this as a cost-effective solution to a problem that has been nagging people for a long time,” Campbell said. He praised the Board of Finance for approving the project , and said the decision to request a vote before the election was not politically motivated.

“We’re not concerned about the election cycle. We’re concerned about getting it done,” he said, adding that if the vote is held after the election, it likely will not be until January.

Stevenson said, “The claims of ‘fiscal responsibility ’ from my Democratic opponents suggest that the current financial leaders of our town have been fiscally irresponsible. I strongly and categorically disagree.”

The two said their current budget is smaller than the previous administration’s and that there is a lengthy process of revision and analysis that goes into making the budget, during which the public has an opportunity to observe and comment on their actions. They also said the previous administration had earmarked $40 million in capital expenditures.

“When I read claims of fiscal irresponsibility, it tells me that they’re not remembering right,” Stevenson said.

The press conference was held at the Senior Center, where they reiterated their feelings that the building was in serious disrepair and needs to be replaced quickly.

“There have been times when prior administrations have deferred or underinvested in our town only to have this cost us more in the long run,” Stevenson said, referring to the poor maintenance of the Senior Center and Town Hall.

“However, we have consistently invested in our children’s education. As a result, we have all reaped the reward of significant property value increases due, in large part, to this wise investment. I believe an investment in the Mather Community Center will have the same result.”

If the “Shuffle” is approved by the RTM on Nov. 1, Campbell said the Board of Education will likely move from its current office to 35 Leroy Ave. this summer, and the seniors will be able to move into the new center by the beginning of 2012.

You can reach Casey Donahue at cdonahue@thedailydarien.com.

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