Shrewsbury – The town of Shrewsbury will be holding its Annual Town Election Tuesday, May 5. Two candidates, incumbent James Kane and former selectman Benjamin Tartaglia, are running for one spot on the Board of Selectmen. Here in their own words are statements from both candidates.
Next week’s issue of the Community Advocate will have statements from candidates running for election in other towns.
James Kane – I am writing to ask for your support as I seek re-election to the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen. In my six years I have a strong record of accomplishment working with my colleagues.
My top priorities are a stable tax rate, improving our land use planning across town and plan for the financial and economic development future of our town. Like you, I want an affordable, high quality community in which we can raise and educate our children and enjoy long into retirement.
When I first ran, I pledged to work for the expansion of our commercial tax base, provide high quality municipal services, to embody fiscal restraint and to ensure an inclusive approach to leadership. Additionally I pushed hard for our town to take control of the future land use decisions around the now closed Glavin Center and to preserve athletic and open space now enjoyed by our town. I am pleased to say I have accomplished each!
I have a proven track record of success working with others! Accomplishments are achieved through team work. I will continue to focus on delivering high quality public safety and public education service levels to our town. The basics matter and I focus on the core elements of municipal government. Fully funding our retirement obligations is not sexy but critical to our fiscal stability in the long run.
I am a dedicated and active member in our community. I am extremely proud of my work with the Veterans Council to fundraise and build the new World War I Monument.
I have displayed a reasoned approach in making tough decisions. Shrewsbury has always been a well-managed community. I have chosen paths that preserve the fiscal integrity of Shrewsbury while delivering the highest level of service possible while providing for the lowest tax rate in the area.
I will continue to use my own knowledge and experience and work with my colleagues and the Town Manager to seek innovative and creative solutions that keep Shrewsbury the Shrewsbury we’re proud to call home. Thank you for your consideration!
Benjamin Tartaglia – Within one month of being elected to the Board of Selectmen, I will propose a real estate tax exemption policy which will be fairer to seniors and those on fixed income and of modest means. It will be based on income, age, military service and physical and mental ability. Our current tax abatement policy is outdated and grounded in the last century. The current process rarely results in substantial tax relief to the applicants.
How can such a new policy be implemented? Oh? You don’t know? It is already being done in other towns. In 2012, through a home rule petition, Sudbury voters accepted Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2012, which allows a tax exemption up to 50 percent in residential property taxes for senior citizens whose income is below a certain level. Malden has a 30 percent exemption. Thirteen Massachusetts cities and towns have similar tax exempt policies. And, the list is growing.
So, why hasn’t the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen implemented a real estate tax exemption for seniors? Good question. One I’ll pursue when you elect me. Where is the Finance Committee on this? Another good question.
If our elected and appointed officials had put as much effort into a tax exemption for seniors as they have on increasing fees and promoting overrides, we would have already had such a policy in place. If you elect me, I will work with the other members of the Board of Selectmen, the Town Manager and our local and state representatives to make a senior tax exemption policy a reality.
I have other issues to work on should you choose to elect me. They include; term limits for elected officials, allowing officials to hold only one elective office at a time, electing Finance Committee members, elimination of school bus fees, opposing school choice and limiting school budget increases to 2-1/2 percent.
My wife and I have lived in Shrewsbury, raised our family and paid taxes for over 40 years. I ask you to vote for me on Tuesday, May 5 and return balance to the Board of Selectmen while “Living Within Our Means.”