Candidates address local residents
Region – On Tuesday May 6, residents in Shrewsbury and Westborough will head to the polls. Among the contested races are Board of Selectmen seats in both towns: two seats in Shrewsbury and one in Westborough. We asked the candidates for those positions to address our readers and respond to these questions: (1) What type of experience/ personal traits do you feel makes you a qualified candidate for this position? and (2) What is the most significant problem the town faces today, and how do you plan to remedy that problem?
The following are the statements submitted by the candidates.
In addition, the Shrewsbury School Committee race is also contested. Statements from those candidates will appear in the Friday May 2 issue of the "Community Advocate."
Westborough Board of Selectmen Denzil Drewry
I am asking for your vote to represent you on the Board of Selectmen. As in the past, I will be open, candid, and responsive to the concerns of all citizens. I will continue to support our excellent town services, while working hard to make sure we get the best value for our taxes.
Growth, traffic, open space, and increasing tax burdens are just some of the major challenges we need to address. We need to continue working with the business community which not only provides jobs but pays a substantial portion of our taxes. Meeting our challenges will require working closely with town departments and listening to your concerns and recommendations.
Westborough continues to be a wonderful community residents to live in and raise our children. Much of our success is due to the hard work and involvement of our senior citizens. Many can not aff ord to maintain their homes and continue living in the town they raised their families. I am committed to support any fair tax reduction system that will help our seniors.
My wife, Rainie, and I moved to Westborough in 1977. Our children, Scott and Jamie, grew up in the same house we live in today.
I received my Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Massachusetts. I have held several management positions during my career. I have served on many town committees.
I am a Vietnam Veteran and served as a First Lieutenant with Special Forces A Team 102. I was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and the Purple Heart. Rod Jané It would be a distinct honor to serve the residents of Westborough as your next Selectman. I have greatly enjoyed serving on the School Committee for the past six years, three years as its Chairman. The single biggest challenge facing Westborough is how to continue to provide high quality core services – police, fire, ambulance, DPW, and education – while at the same time keeping Westborough aff ordable for all residents. There are significant financial challenges ahead which will require thoughtful analysis, planning, prioritization, open discussion, and action.
My leadership background and experience will be helpful to the Board as it tackles these challenges. As a senior executive with General Mills and Honeywell, I managed large businesses with multi-million dollar budgets. That experience will help the Board navigate the budget challenges facing Westborough. As Executive Director of Business Development for Massachusetts, I was appointed by Governor Romney to run the Commonwealth's premier economic development and job creation agency. That experience will be useful in helping attract high quality businesses to Westborough, which will increase tax revenues. Finally, while I was Chairman of the School Committee, we initiated planning and budgeting re- forms that helped restore fiscal discipline, while maintaining academic excellence. If you agree that my experience and leadership can help the Town of Westborough, I respectfully ask for your vote on May 6th.
Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen
Maurice DePalo Incumbent
As a five-term selectman, I have extensive experience and knowledge gained from being involved in the wide variety of issues that come before the town. I try to make fair and reasoned decisions for the entire town, doing so with compassion and an understanding of the lasting impact these decisions may have on our community.
As a leader, I value listening to people and building consensus among differing perspectives. That's why I take the time to study the issues, seeking the input of residents and town officials. My experience gives me a broad perspective on the issues. I understand the importance of making decisions for the long-term benefit of the community rather than for short-term satisfaction.
The major challenge facing the town is maintaining the service levels needed to adequately run a town of 31,000 people when town expenses are rising at a faster rate than available revenue. I'll continue to bring new ideas to the Board, working to identify sources of new revenue and opportunities to improve operating efficiencies. I'll also continue, with my colleagues, to lobby our state and federal leaders to fund and revise unfunded mandates in order to reduce the burdens on town government.
I was born and raised in Shrewsbury, and have lived over 32 of my 35 years here. From little league baseball to graduating from Shrewsbury High, I have always been proud and fortunate to live in such a nurturing community. I possess a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Westfield State College, worked as a contract manager for the Department of Correction, and have owned and operated my own business in the City of Worcester.
The most significant problem the town faces today is revenue. Our property tax rate for both residential and commercial properties is $9.14. Compared to similar communities, including Northborough ($13.28) and Westborough ($14.70), this rate is very low. Rather than undergo a divisive proposition 2 ½ override each year, I suggest a split tax rate for commercial and residential properties. I strongly believe a slightly higher commercial rate will create more revenue and reduce the amount of significant cuts to municipal and school budgets. My intention is not to place the entire burden on our commercial properties, but rather, initiate small increases that will continue to maintain lower tax rates than surrounding communities. It's time to encourage a community that is both pro-business and pro-resident.
I have 20 years' experience in the Electronics industry and an MBA. My expertise is in business performance Management. My strength is problem solving. Currently I am working with several non-profit organizations including PACE and Hope for Housing.
I believe that I can help solve Shrewsbury's challenges by working with the Board to develop short and long term measurable strategic plans. These plans would help to build consensus with the town's leadership and then with residents through detailed communications.
I would work with our state legislators to modify the state aid formula which needs to look at Shrewsbury's educational performance, rather than penalize us for using sound fiscal management. We need work to remove the lottery aid cap and return $450 million of local aid.
We need to maintain the level of services for our senior residents.
We need to create a Business Development Committee to help develop a plan to grow revenue.
Shrewsbury's revenue has flattened while health care costs, pensions, education and infrastructure upgrades rise. The result is many fee based programs. We need to look at what can be done to turn ourselves around.
I want to move Shrewsbury forward. Years ago, a forward looking Shrewsbury established the Light Department, Cablevision and the Ash Dump. These served as profit centers and granted us excellent services while keeping our taxes aff ordable. Now we must find our 21st Century cash cows. Complaining that Boston steals the lottery funds and shortchanges local aid will never balance our budget. We must take control of our own destiny. I will work tirelessly to find our next profit center, be it a power plant or whatever good idea a town of thirty-three thousand people can envision.
Our eleven percent Commercial Tax Base is unsustainable. There is no other candidate who has developed as much commercial property as I have at Masiello Construction. I will develop a smart marketing plan for the town and in particular the Allen Farm Property. Please see my website at www.johnmasiello. com for my thoughts on commercial development and other issues.
I graduated Summa from Wentworth, am a tireless worker and experienced business man. Construction has taught me to work within budgets while maintaining excellence.
It is time to move forward. I will work doggedly for Shrewsbury, but first I need your vote. Thank you.
My personal style is one of inclusion. I will reach out and meet people from all parts of Shrewsbury and listen to their concerns and ideas. I want to find new and diff erent ways for the Selectmen to communicate with the community.
I'll draw on my 22 years of business experience, including financial management and strategic planning. I will leverage my analytical skills to evaluate opportunities and objectively consider priorities. When the Board considers commercial development or other projects, my engineering background will be useful.
I'm very involved in the community through many volunteer organizations. I am a Town Meeting member and gained tremendous insight into the budget process while serving on the Finance Committee. I will hit the ground running on Day One as a Selectman.
Shrewsbury is entering its fourth year of a structural deficit, where revenues are being outpaced by costs in key areas: insurance, special education, pensions, fuel and utilities.
My goal is to work with the Town Manager and others to develop a comprehensive, multi-year approach to resolving the structural deficit. I will also research other communities to identify governmental "best practices" that Shrewsbury may want to adopt.
I think it's important to bring people together to identify solutions for the whole community.
There are several reasons why I am a qualified candidate for Selectman: first, I am a small business owner with a BS in Business Management which has given me the expertise and skill set to be an eff ective leader and decision maker. Secondly, I've been a Town Meeting Member for the last seven years which has educated me on the various issues facing our town and has kept me in touch with my neighbors. Lastly, I was President of Shrewsbury Youth Hockey for two years and on the Board of Directors as well as a Coach for seven years. This aff orded me the opportunity to manage and maintain a non-profit organization and learn to balance the needs of many diff erent people.
I believe the most significant problem our town faces today is developing a balanced budget. We need to find more creative ways to generate revenue and keep expenses down. We need to find a healthy balance between the needs and budget constraints of our seniors living on fixed budgets and those of our residents with school aged children.
I look forward to working with ALL of our residents. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get busy! Editor's note: Candidate Benjamin Tartaglia Jr. did not submit a statement to us.
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