\u201cWe need to tighten up the ship,\u201d First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. Looking ahead to 2018, an aggressive effort to hold down the budget and taxes seems the overriding priority for the town of Ridgefield, in light of federal tax changes that Marconi expects will increase the burden on many residents as the deductions for local taxes are limited to $10,000 for a combination of state income and town property taxes \u2014 a lot less than many Ridgefielders are accustomed to deducting on their federal income tax returns. \u201cBecause of the most recent federal tax plan voted on, and impacting communities like ours, I think we\u2019re really going to need to look at our budget very closely,\u201d said Marconi. And he\u2019ll be here doing that, having dropped any thoughts of running for governor. \u201cNo,\u201d he said with a laugh. \u201cIt takes two to tango, and I was never good at dancing \u2014 especially alone.\u201d So he\u2019ll be working on Ridgefield issues in 2018, and hoping to run for first selectman again when municipal offices are on the ballot in 2019. \u201cI will be seeking another term,\u201d he said, \u201cas long as God\u2019s willing and the people, most importantly, agree.\u201d Lower than 2.5% Goals for the 2018-19 budget that the selectmen discussed with the finance and school boards at December\u2019s tri-board meeting now don\u2019t seem aggressive enough. \u201cMy general take-away from the tri-board was, for all of us, not to exceed 2.5%. I\u2019m hoping we can come in a lot lower than that,\u201d Marconi said. \u201cYou may find our recommendations this year are going to be extremely meager,\u201d he said. Marconi\u2019s other priorities for the year range from advancing local projects \u2014 sewer plant renovations, the state\u2019s Main Street improvement plans, the town\u2019s Schlumberger site work, two related Branchville projects \u2014 to continuing to be a strong voice in the statewide battle against opiate addiction. Sewer plant The sewer plant renovation \u2014 expected to cost $42 million, with $32 million of it coming from local sewer users and taxpayers \u2014 tops the list. \u201cThat\u2019s without a doubt the largest project on the horizon,\u201d Marconi said. The timeline anticipates design work being done this summer, and a referendum on the financing in the fall \u2014 on the November election ballot \u201cprobably,\u201d Marconi said. Although how the cost is handled will go to a referendum, the town can\u2019t decline to renovate the sewer plant and bring it up to new environmental standards for phosphorus and nitrates. \u201cThat\u2019s something we have no choice in \u2014 no say,\u201d the first selectman said. \u201cThat\u2019s a 20-year upgrade: We can be put under court order to comply.\u201d Main Street The state\u2019s plans for improvements to Main Street are still on the agenda. \u201cThat\u2019s scheduled for a 2018 bid date, with construction in 2019,\u201d Marconi said. It\u2019s about a $3-million project, with the state handling all of the costs. \u201cA far smaller project than originally looked at \u2014 the major part of the project being the intersection of Prospect Street,\u201d Marconi said. The plan is to move the shopping center\u2019s driveway north, closer to the park, so it\u2019s directly across from Prospect Street \u2014 as was originally planned years ago but was changed to save the elm tree that has now died. Two other elm trees \u2014 those on either side of town hall\u2019s front door \u2014 will be coming down in 2018 under the tree warden\u2019s orders. \u201cThe elm trees will have to come down this coming year \u2014 John Pinchbeck confirmed it,\u201d Marconi said. Plans to rebuild town hall\u2019s front entranceway \u2014 all that brickwork \u2014 are waiting, the town having gotten an extension of the grant so it can be timed to coincide with the state\u2019s Main Street project. Schlumberger There are two tenants working on renovations of town-owned former Schlumberger buildings. The design firm BassamFellows is renovating office space in the Philip Johnson building. And a theater group, ACT of Connecticut, is redoing the auditorium to accommodate Broadway-type productions. The town\u2019s share of the task is site work \u2014 driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, outdoor lighting, drainage. It will rebid the work after a first advertising of it produced only one bid, of $1.2 million, which got negotiated down to about $900,000 \u2014 but Marconi hopes to do better. \u201cIt\u2019s out to bid now,\u201d he said. \u201cThe plan the town voted on is exactly what we\u2019re heading toward. \u2026 We haven\u2019t altered that one bit.\u201d Branchville Branchville plans include a state project to reduce the number of rail crossings at the station from two to just one \u2014 which requires realigning Portland Avenue and its bridge. \u201cThat continues to be in the preliminary stages,\u201d Marconi said. \u201cContracts have been signed and sent back to the state \u2014 agreements that will allow design to move forward on the bridge and rail crossings.\u201d There\u2019s also a town economic development project to make the Branchville business district more walkable, with sidewalks along the west side of Route 7 from the Wilton line north past the Little Pub, and up Route 102 to Florida Road. \u201cUnder a separate grant, the work for pedestrian connectivity \u2014 sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, streetlights,\u201d Marconi said. Fighting opiates The first selectman wants to do more to battle opiate and other addictions that he sees afflicting more and more people. And he feels Ridgefield could play a part by accommodating treatment facilities. \u201cIf we don\u2019t want it in residential areas \u2014 which I certainly understand \u2014 we should look at it through our planning,\u201d he said. \u201cWe have a responsibility to play a role in addressing the much-needed beds \u2014 in our community, in our state \u2014 to help treat addiction. \u201cOnly those unfortunate people who have experienced the devastation of an addiction, and the impact on a family, understand the need for these services,\u201d Marconi said. \u201cAnd, yes, it is a disease. The stigma associated with alcohol\/opiate addiction needs to be neutralized and our society must be willing to open up to the needs of the addicted. \u201cRather than run for governor, maybe I can do something more with that,\u201d he said.