At the August 22, 2019, meeting of the Windsor Democratic Club, Mayor Dominic Foppoli spoke on his life in Windsor, his role as a Town council member and Mayor, and the Town’s accomplishments and challenges.
Foppoli grew up in Windsor. When it incorporated in 1992, he decided he wanted to become mayor. Now he’s looking forward to door-to-door campaigning in 2020 for the first town-wide election for mayor – he really enjoys talking to residents.
Fiscally, Windsor is in good shape, with the highest-rated roads in the county and the lowest crime rate. But very little housing has been built in the past ten years, affordable or otherwise. More than 1,000 units have been approved but not yet built because of rising construction costs.
The Town Council is working on affordable housing, using in lieu monies as leverage for government grants. Town money helped fund the new Veterans Village in Windsor (60 units), and the 16 units being built by Habitat for Humanity. The Town is now considering the Bluebird Center (old location of the Newsong Church), as well as other Town-owned sites, for affordable housing.
Windsor is also taking the lead in environmental issues. The largest floating solar field on West Coast is being built in Windsor. When completed, it will provide clean electrical power to all of the Town’s operations, particularly its wastewater facility, saving money, without any Town investment. And at the last council meeting, the Town became the first city to require that all future residential buildings, both single and multi-unit, be all-electric.
Foppoli said that there were a lot of amazing things that the Town could do, all costing money. He mentioned an aquatic complex ($15 million), a bike/pedestrian overpass for Route 101 (12 million), and a splash pad on the Town Green ($500,000 or more). But it’s not enough to just build these – for example, the aquatic complex would cost the town $500,000 annually to operate. Windsor has the lowest sales tax rate in the county; it’s up to residents to decide if they want to fund Town improvements with higher taxes.
Foppoli defended the plan for a deluxe hotel on the Town Green. He said that the lease of the Town-owned land, plus the transient occupancy tax ($60 per night per occupied room, if rooms go for $500 per night) could fund a new, larger library building, a new multi-jurisdiction administration building, a new location for the police department (with a secured vehicle lot), and a new recreation building in Keiser Park better suited for preschool care.
Foppoli said that being on Council was close to a full-time job. That the Council stipend is only a few hundred dollars per month means that it is rare for someone who works full-time to be on the Council. Foppoli said that if he didn’t have an income stream from his business, he wouldn’t be able to spend the needed time.
Foppoli concluded by saying that Windsor is greatest town in America, and that he wants to raise his (future) kids here.