Santopietro: Wait… The Former Waterbury Mayor?

by LonSeidman

Joseph Santopietro... Not the Mayor

Board of Assessment Appeals candidate Joe Santopietro gets alot of looks when people see his name. “Most people think I’m the Waterbury Joe Santopietro,” he tells the Whisper.

Indeed. So did we.

“When I call people while campaigning, they think I’m calling the wrong town,” he tells the Whisper.

THAT Joseph Santopietro was a former Republican mayor of Waterbury from 1986 until 1991.

fmr Waterbury Mayor Joseph Santopietro (source: courant.com)

THIS Joseph Santopietro was just graduating Wolcott High School in 1989. THAT Santopietro was arrested and convicted in a savings and loan scandal in 1992. This Santopietro can’t remember if he had a bank account back then. “Its funny though because when I tell people I’m not him, they say ‘that’s ok, he was a good guy anyway’,” the younger Santopietro says.

The Row C candidate says he is qualified for the Board of Assessment Appeals. The Town is expected to have a revaluaton in the next two years, where private properaty is re-assessed to make sure it is being taxed properly. Santopietro says his real estate background will be helpful in making decisions when homeowners might question what the town’s appraisor decides.

“Most people don’t understand the process, and I want to better educate the public about it.” He says that if elected, he would push to put more information on the town’s website about the revaluation and appeals processes.

But are the two men by the same name related? “No, there’s hundreds of Santopietro’s in the area, but me and the former mayor aren’t related.”

Santopietro Replied to the Whisper’s request for candidates to tell us about themselves:

1)Why are you running for office?

I Witnessed first hand a revaluation process that was flawed, closed and uninformative to the public. Going through that debacle, I pledged to myself that the next time it was to take place, I would take an active role to improve it.

2) What would you like to change?
Education is the remedy to problems and confusion. Wolcott needs to hold seminars of what revaluation is all about, why it takes place and what purpose it serves. I have run my campaign on a revaluation education platform – prepare the taxpayer for the process. I would like to encourage government officials to open up the process and educate.

3)What skillset will assist you if elected?
A strong real estate and governmental background, which will serve well in this position. What better skill can one have then going through the process when it was last done?

4) What makes you the best candidate?
Serving as a volunteer to both the baseball and soccer leagues allows me the privilege to interact with parents from all walks of life. I have seen families struggle to make ends meet. My wife’s involvement with school activities also adds another ingredient to my information source. All that data has bruoght me to the conclusion that Wolcott families CANNOT sustain any additional taxes. I intend to be their voice on the appeals board-the voice of the people not the political parties.

5)Primary focus?
During my campaign, I have talked to hundreds of residents, visited many functions and most of all listened, took notes and sorted the information. I learned that almost no one knew that revaluation year was coming, very few knew how the system worked and almost all are looking for their taxes to be lower. Many believe that their tax burden will decrease because their home value will probably be lower in the revaluation this time around. I tried to explain to them that if the values decreases, the mill rate will increase, which results in higher taxes if the grand list remains flat. People become uncomfortable because of the lack of information offered to them. I plan to push for informative programs and seminars to lend all Wolcott residents a comfort level before the process begins.

6) What is something that distinguishes you from other candidates?
I research things before I become involved. Before I became a candidate, I made sure I was qualified for the job. Many people who see my name think I am the Waterbury Joe Santopietro. Actually, I was born and raised in Wolcott, and I am Wolcott’s own Joseph Santopietro.

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