Three vie for two spots on Northborough’s Board of Selectmen

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Northborough – Northborough will be holding its annual town election Tuesday, May 8. Three candidates – incumbent William Pantazis, and political newcomers Julianne S. Hirsh and Timothy M. Kaelin – are vying for two seats on the Board of Selectmen. Here in their own words the candidates explain why they are running.  Planning Board candidates will be in next week’s issue.

Julianne Hirsh

Julianne Hirsh

I grew up in western Massachusetts. I went to public grade schools, UMass Amherst for college, and Boston University for graduate school in nursing.  I met my husband while working at Beth Israel hospital and shortly after we moved to NYC for his career.  Then it was off to Philadelphia for two years, Worcester for six and Pittsburgh for ten. During these moves I took time off to raise my children. In 2002 we moved to Northborough, where we’ve been since.  Most recently I worked in Worcester Public Schools as an instructional assistant.  Having lived in a few different places, I can see that Northborough is a town with enormous potential.

My interests are reading, gardening, going to the movies and walking. I especially love the many trails offered in Northborough.

The main reason I would like to serve on the Board of Selectmen is to bring a different perspective to meetings.  The town is well run and financially well managed, but I think we can bring information to more people, more efficiently. I would like to see Northborough looking to the future about issues such as the environment, energy, and transportation.  I am retired from my job and have time to explore these issues.  People’s lives are very busy and in order to engage the residents I think we have to share information in many different ways so they are aware of issues that affect them. In summary, my goal would be to facilitate communication and raise awareness of future possibilities for our great town.

I am very interested in the master plan and bringing some cohesion to downtown Northborough.  I am very grateful to the residents who are responsible for the town green that will be built and the residents who supported White Cliffs, and I think these projects are a great start to bringing the downtown together.  People love to walk, and we should have sidewalks in as many places as possible to allow the residents to use the downtown more.  Northborough has so much to capitalize on: we have a great trail system, good public services, and natural beauty.  I would love to be part of a group that continues to improve the town.

Tim Kaelin

I grew up in Northborough, moving here in the late 70’s when I was around 5 years old. I moved away for college and lived in the Boston area for over 15 years. When my wife and I made the decision to start a family, we moved back to Northborough because it is a wonderful community to live, work and raise a family. We now have two boys ages 5 ½ and 2 ½. I am a business owner, I have a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master of business administration, and a master of science in business analytics.

The main reason I‘m running is the board desperately needs a new, fresh perspective. One member has been on the board for over 20 years, three of the remaining four members average over 15 years, and a majority of members do not currently have children in the Northborough school system. I think the board needs to have someone who has new ideas for Northborough, who, as a parent of school aged children, has something in common with a large portion of the residents in town and shares their same concerns, and a board member who will push back when needed. I’m most interested in putting my time and effort into any committee that adds value to the town and makes a difference to residents.

One area that I would make an effort to improve is the transparency and access that citizens currently have to committees. If a parent or resident can’t make a committee meeting because they have other obligations, they shouldn’t be shut out of participating. Incorporating simple to use internet tools can allow people to watch, ask questions and get involved in decisions that impact their lives instead of finding out second hand after the fact.

William Pantazis

William Pantazis

I am a lifelong resident of Northborough, married to my wife Karen for 31 years.

I attended Northborough public schools as did all of our children. I have been involved in our community for a number of years. I coached Starhawks hockey for four  years, was involved with Northborough youth baseball as a fundraiser and assistant coach. I have been a sSelectman for 15 years. My passion is to serve my community.

When I first ran for selectman I wanted to bring a voice to the citizens of Northborough

Bring more diverse business and industry to town to lessen the residential tax burden, to keep Northborough affordable, and to bring transparency to local government.

Since being elected as selectman I have been accessible and have brought Northborough’s voice to the board. As a board we have brought multiple new diverse industries to town such as Genzyme Corporation, Fedex Hub, A Duie Pyle Hub, Isomedix, National Grid, and U-Haul Self Storage. In addition we have brought new business to Northborough such as Northborough Crossing with multiple stores, health resources, and restaurants. We have change the way we do business. We provide good information within a transparent process before a decision is made. We now work collaboratively with the superintendent of schools during the budget process.

As selectman we established a free cash policy in 2012 to pay for one time capital purchases so not to borrow money and create unnecessary debt. In 2014 we implemented hotel and meal taxes which helps to fund OPEB, which addresses post-employment benefits for our retirees. In 2015 we established a pavement management system which addresses the condition of our roadways and to make a plan to improve them and their infrastructures.

In 2015 I chaired a committee to study and address staffing needs for our police and fire departments and to come up with a plan to add staff where and if needed and to make sure it would be financially sustainable. In 2016 – 2017 I sat on the 250 Anniversary Committee to celebrate our 250 years of agricultural history and how Northborough has changed into a wonderfully diverse community over those years.

This year I am chairing the White Cliffs Reuse Committee whose purpose is to research and to determine possible uses for our beautiful historic building and to bring a consensus to Town Meeting 2019. I am also serving as a member of the new Master Plan Committee who will update our comprehensive long range plan to guide Northborough’s growth and development for housing, transportation, infrastructure, preservation, and addressing the downtown area for future generations.

As selectman our most important job is providing quality services, maintain good schools which provide quality education, keeping our community safe while keeping Northborough affordable and a desirable place to live. That is my commitment to Northborough. I would appreciate your vote on Tuesday, May 8.