One of New Britain’s most well-known and empowered Democratic politicos, Stanley Pac, died Friday. He was 89.
Considered a stalwart Democrat in a city well-known for its gritty politics and strong Polish population, Pac served as mayor from 1971 to 1975, before being tapped by then Democratic governor, Ella Grasso, as commissioner of the then Department of Environmental Services.
A keen political strategist, Pac was nicknamed “Mr. New Britain” also served as a state representative and state senator. In 1983, he was named Man of the Year by the Polish American Business and Professional Association.
“He was popular with the Polish community but cared about all of New Britain,” said former Mayor Bill McNamara. “He was all about the people of his city,” said McNamara who credits Pac with getting him involved in city politics. “No matter how small a problem a citizen might be having Stanley addressed it,” added McNamara. “He was a good mayor.”
In an interview just a year ago with the New Britain City Journal, Pac shared some his memories of his political past.
“As Mayor my salary was $16,000. We had a recession in 1974 and I was trying to get the heads of each agency to not get raises. They didn’t want to go along with that,” recalls Pac. “To help; I cut my salary by $5,000. I wanted to keep the tax rate reasonable.”
He found another way to keep taxes reasonable for residents even though he received threatening letters from the state for doing so.
“I kept property under-assessed so people could pay low taxes,” he said.
How did he do that?
By not re-assessing homes.
“I refused to assess up to 19th year and it was supposed to be done every 10 years,” he said. “I got threatening letters from state tax collector telling us to re-assess each year. I carried it to 19th year to keep taxes low.”
He said it kept prices on houses low so a lot of people bought houses in New Britain. With so many house purchases, it kept enough money coming that it was not necessary to raise the mill rate or re-assess.
Pac was also always there for residents. During one snowstorm he received a phone call around 8 p.m. from a woman on Silver St. complaining that the snow plows plowed her in.
“I put a shovel in my car and went and shoveled her out myself,” said Pac. “How many mayors would do that?”
Perhaps his biggest fight involved keeping property in downtown now housing the New Britain Superior Court and One Liberty Square.
The state wanted to take that property for housing.
“The previous mayor promised them land and it was a disaster,” said Pac. “I said ‘look I’ll give you any kind of housing, but not on the best land we have in the City’. I stayed firm.”
The state took him to court and Pac won.
“Now we get $1 million on taxes for that property,” he stated. “I gave them land on Slater Road.”
Flags in the city have been lowered to half-staff. The funeral service will be held Tuesday. http://bit.ly/P8sbpN
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