Thursday, December 9, 2021
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2021 Candidates: Killingworth Board of Assessment Appeals

We reached out to both the Killingworth Republican Town Committee and the Killingworth Democrat Town Committee and asked candidates to respond to a set of questions; if a candidate did not respond, their name is listed, so that you know who is running for each office.

Updates from all candidates are welcome and will be published as Letters to the Editor. The questions posed to the candidates were:

  • Tell us a little about yourself.
  • Why are you running for the position?
  • What do you see as the important issues facing Killingworth and how would you address them in your role?
  • What are the key things you love about this town and its people?
  • Additional thoughts to leave voters with?

Francesco Lulaj (R): I was born and raised in Albania and moved to the U.S. in 2001.  I am 45 years old.   My wife Cassandra and I, and our four boys live on Jacob Lane.  I own and operate La Foresta Restaurant, which we opened in 2014.

I ran for First Selectman in 2019 because I care about Killingworth.  While I was unsuccessful, I remain deeply committed to the issues that I campaigned upon which are protecting our town’s quality of life and helping to ensure Killingworth remains the best town in Connecticut to raise a family.

Balancing the delivery of quality municipal services with respect for the taxpayer’s dollar is my primary goal.  I also think it is essential to prepare for our town’s future financially, particularly as Hartford struggles to balance its own budget and will likely be forced to reduce its support for local budgets.  

Killingworth provides an extraordinary mix of lifestyle qualities including a largely rural character, a great location near major highways and the state’s shoreline, and people who care about one another.

I believe everyone should do their part to help their community.

Matthew T. Stillman (D): I am an Elder Law/Trusts and Estates/Veterans’ Benefits Attorney who practices locally in Guilford.  I have received multiple accolades, including my organization’s “Attorney of the Year” award for diligence and dedication to my clients and to my profession.  My family have lived locally in Killingworth for over 24 years.

I am re-running for the position of Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) because the panel’s goal is to ensure all get a “fair shake.” I initially chose to participate and now to re-run because it is (basically) a non-political means to assist my fellow townspeople. The BAA neither works for the town (and the Assessor) nor the fellow residents.  We review the appeals in light of current statutes that determine the correct procedure/process to follow in the appeals process.  If corrections are needed, the BAA works to apply them for a fair result.

I’ve been very pleased to serve in my elected capacity and wish to do so again.

The issues addressing BAA solely have to do with re-evaluation.  My goal in the BAA is to ensure there is a fair and balanced approach for assessments that is evenly applied amongst the entire town.  No age group, no religious group, no political party should be advantaged. Town politics have little to do with assessment appeals and that’s the way it should stay.

We have great people; whether they be neighbors or businesses.  Even when locals disagree, excepting a few unruly few, we state our opinions civilly and respectfully.  It was a great place to live and raise our family.

I love the rural nature of Killingworth but I’d love to see more businesses and services to serve the community.  More support and activities for Seniors and further development of safe recreational facilities/campuses for both youth, families, and Seniors are also always welcome.  As for infrastructure, I’d love to see advances/improvements in Town Hall as well.  I know these wishes contradict many who seek to either: a) prevent Route 81 becoming Route 1 in Orange, and others who b) wish to provide a “pennywise/pound foolish” approach to government but that really just costs us all more in the long run.  I believe a healthy balance can be found (for town improvements versus their costs) in the future.  These opinions, however, are mine and have little application for the roles of the members of the BAA, as I’ve explained.

I volunteer (yes, this is an unpaid, volunteer position) to support our friends, neighbors, and businesses for fair and even application of the assessment rules across all in our Town. My goal as a BAA member is to ensure equity and fairness across the entire community in the Assessment process.

As always, I welcome anyone’s thoughts.

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