Editorial: Time to tune in

Ridgefield Democrats and Ridgefield Republicans.

Ridgefield Democrats and Ridgefield Republicans.

news@theridgefieldpress.com / news@theridgefieldpress.com

The signs are out on roadsides, the letters column is full of townspeople’s endorsements, and starting this week The Press is publishing “question and answer” articles on major town political races (Pages A10-A13).

Insiders sometimes jestingly call it “silly season,” but in truth the weeks leading up to the November election are an important time for people lucky enough to live in this small town democracy where voters choose the people who run the town, the schools, who oversee land development and protect wetlands and water resources.

To help voters gain insight into the outlooks and abilities of candidates seeking important offices, The Press has prepared questions for and sought written answers from candidates for the major town offices. The questions and the candidates’ answers will be printed over the next two weeks leading up to Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5.

This week’s Oct. 24 paper has question-and-answer stories on candidates for the two newly separated land use agencies: the Planning and Zoning Commission and Inland Wetlands Board. The wetlands board is being split off from planning and zoning after a much-debated charter change was approved by voters last November.

This week’s paper also has question-and-answer stories on two powerful agencies — the Board of Education and the Board of Finance. The school board works to keep Ridgefield’s schools well run, adequately financed, and high-performing. The Board of Finance takes budget requests from both the Board of Education for the school system and the Board of Selectmen for town departments — police, fire, highway, parks and recreation — and balances the requests and priorities with an eye to what taxpayers can afford. Voters in the spring budget referendum are asked to approve or reject budgets that are ultimately the work of the finance board, although the school board and selectmen also play key roles in crafting them.

And The Press of Oct. 31, the last issue before the election, will have question and answers from the candidates for the Board of Selectmen and the lively race for first selectman — the folks who oversee the town administration.

There will also be stories on candidates running for other positions on the ballot. Voters can find information on them at the two major parties’ websites: ridgefieldctgop.org and ridgefielddems.net.