Mao intent on keeping Darien on sound fiscal footing
Published 1:55 pm, Thursday, October 27, 2011
Maintaining appropriate spending and making sure near-term projects fit with long-terms goals are a few of the priorities for Liz Mao when re-elected.
"I've been on the Board of Finance since 2007, and when I came into office I felt there were a few areas that weren't funded, such as the parks," Mao said. "I wanted to make sure that the areas people were paying for were funded so they could be properly maintained."
Mao said she was attracted to the BOF because she felt there was too much conflict over minor issues which caused larger issues to be overlooked.
"I think we have achieved a lot more collaboration now and Darien is enjoying the fruits of that collaboration," she said.
As the town continues to move forward with various projects, Mao said it is important to make sure the current levels of spending are appropriately maintained as well as ensuring the long-term financial health of the town.
"I think we've done an excellent job of handling the near-term issues, but we also have to makes sure those decisions fit into our long-term plan," Mao said. "The BOF looks at issues 10 years out and a lot of what we have done is investment spending because the town will get a return on it. We prompted the Board of Selectman to look at switching over to natural gas which will result in significant savings for the town."
Although Mao didn't see any major challenges for the town in the future, the ballooning Board of Education budget can be a struggle to balance.
"The BOE budget has been growing the fastest, and without any funding from the state there is no reason to expect the drivers behind the budget to slow down," she said.
Despite the challenges of balancing budgets, Mao said the part of the job she has enjoyed the most since joining the Board is the chance to work with her fellow Board members.
"We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of people working to make this town better," Mao said.