Connecticut Post (Sunday)
Bindelglass wants to build on recent successes if reelected
EASTON — First Selectman David Bindelglass is hoping to build off a tenure he said saw major improvements in public participation in government and town resiliency as he seeks re-election.
Bindelglass, a Democrat, was elected in 2019 and inherited Easton on the verge of a pandemic. Bindelglass, 62, is an orthopedic surgeon and chief of orthopedics at Bridgeport Hospital.
He said that while most of his first year dealt with managing the pandemic, they were able to pass many ordinances and provide several services to put Easton into a better position going forward.
However, he believes this is just the start and there is more to come.
“I think there’s a lot more work that needs to be done,” Bindelglass said. “We’ve greatly increased participation from the public, but we have a way to go. I think there are still far too many people in the town that we still haven’t reached to inform them about the issues of the day.”
The pandemic played a role in that uptick in communication.
“I got elected just before the pandemic started and certainly a big chunk of my first year was just managing COVID,” he added. “We went out of our way to communicate on a regular basis to citizens of the town so that they knew what was going on so that we can get them to take the proper precautions.”
Bindelglass said that while the pandemic presented major challenges in his first year, Easton was able to do many good things including keeping town hall functioning and continuing emergency services, which he said became a challenge for many other towns.
Easton was also able to return students back to school and open the senior centers before many other towns were able to do so in Fairfield County.
“I think what we did best without question is take care of our seniors,” Bindelglass said. “In the flow of the pandemic, we set up grocery delivery services and stuff like that so that if they were home bound, we were able to take care of them. I believe very strongly that the social isolation was probably as dangerous to seniors as COVID was. Knock on wood, we did it without any outbreaks.”
As the COVID numbers began to go down, Easton and Bindelglass’ administration was faced with another major issue, Hurricane Ida.
Bindelglass said much of the town’s power was out for the better part of a week, however, he and his administration stayed very involved throughout the process.
“When it was over we realized the importance of making the town more resilient,” Bindelglass said. “One of things, I got involved about was they were behind in cutting down the trees around the powerlines so after the end of the storm they made a huge effort.”
“Hopefully that has made us a lot more resilient to future storms,” he added.
While looking back on his current term, Bindelglass admits that they have made strides in places that were issues before. The town passed a “fair” budget, preserved land in Easton, passed a number of ordinances and joined the Wesport Weston Health District to overtake their previous health district which Bindelglass called “woefully inadequate.”
Looking forward there are three major issues that Bindelglass wants to resolve. At the top of the list is finding a new EMS Headquarters. The current building is more than 100 years old and shows the wear and tear. Bindelgass said the town is currently in the process of finding a new home for these services.
Next on the list is continuing to be able to provide the current services for the people of Easton including the new “tremendous” influx of people moving to the town.
He also as wants to do something about the portion of land called South Park.
“Nothing has been accomplished there since we bought it 12 years ago and I would like to find ways to better utilize it including having the land trust preserve a portion of it,” Bindelglass said.