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Milford 2014 Candidate Profile: Melissa Alves-Tomas, Tax Collector

Get a deeper look at who's running in this year's contested races for the Milford Town Election.

Credit: Melissa Alves-Tomas Facebook Page.
Credit: Melissa Alves-Tomas Facebook Page.

Editor's Note: The following profile is part of a series highlighting the candidates running for seats in contested races as part of this year's town election, which takes place on Tuesday, April 1. Milford Patch has reached out to all candidates in the contested races to showcase why they're running and what they hope to bring to the board. Check back leading up to the election for more profiles on the candidates. 

Melissa Alves-Tomas is running for the position of Milford Tax Collector along with Theresa Diomedes Dias. For the full preliminary ballot for this year's election, click here.

Why are you running for the role of Tax Collector?   

The tax collector’s office is an important one because its efficient collection of taxes funds important services that residents depend on for their safety, and many other things that make life better. This position requires business management knowledge and skills. I have a degree in Business Management. I’ve been applying that knowledge and financial/accounting skills for the last 9 years, six of which are in a municipal career. Most recently I’ve served as the Community Development Offices’ Interim Director.

What do you hope to accomplish?  

Provide the office good business management that moves the office into the future. It will give all residents the most efficient, responsive department that specializes in respectful customer service. To do this, management skills such as leadership, planning, organization, evaluating and controlling will be put to good use. Today’s information technology will also improve efficiency and service. Combining advanced computer skills, professional management and accounting knowledge and a fresh perspective on things allows me to achieve more.

What do you see is the most pressing issue facing Milford right now in relation to the seat for which you're running?  

For the past six months I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with many concerned residents of Milford, all of whom have concerns regarding the customer service they received from the Tax Collectors Office. So a pressing issue would be to greatly improve the customer service residents receive. In addition to customer service, a pressing issue is modernizing office functions. For example, online payments have been recently announced, that should have been operational for residents over a decade ago.

What do you think you could do to help resolve this issue?  

My business management skills and experience will allow me to best manage the office and serve the residents. I have always worked with the public and in customer service; it’s one of my strengths. Being Bilingual will allow me to best serve the most residents of Milford. I grew up with the new age of information technology. As the latest improvements in technologies/features come along, they will be easier for me to learn and implement in the office.

Name one unique idea you would like to bring to the table if elected in April. 

I would like to Implement Electronic Bill Submission. This way residents have the option of receiving their bills electronically (many companies have been offering this feature for years). This will be faster, efficient and save the town money.

What is one thing voters might not know about you? 

I’m very family-minded, so I’m raising my family with the same values and traditions I grew up with. I enjoy cooking and active outdoor activities.

George March 25, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Apparently some people have not noticed just how bilingual Milford has become. Head in sand much?
K. March 25, 2014 at 11:27 AM
Electronic Bill submission. I love it. A direct action that will reduce costs and benefits the town immediately; you win lady.
Arlena J March 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM
I believe being bilingual is critical in this type of position. I don't see how her mentioning that piece of information makes her ignorant to the demographics of the town, if anything it makes her more aware of the community she is serving.
Anne Steshoo March 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM
After reading through both articles, I'm more inclined to vote for Theresa. Her answers sounded more practical to me. Melissa's answers sound too fluffy. Growing up in the "new age of information technology" does not give anyone an edge when it comes to implementing enterprise-level IT initiatives. That's not to say Melissa isn't qualified -- I just think Theresa sounds like a better candidate.
George March 25, 2014 at 03:57 PM
Arlena J -- my previous comment was in response to Ray negating the benefit/importance of being bilingual in this position. On another note, an assistant being appointed to fill an unexpired term is nothing for Theresa to brag about. It happens all the time. When the previous building inspector retired, the assistant was appointed interim. When the previous town accountant retired, the assistant was named interim. The fire chief is retiring, the deputy is being promoted. All of those appointment were probably unanimous. Promoting the assistant to interim is not an endorsement on the part of the selectmen; it is simply the most effective way to keep the office functioning.

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