Issues that we care about and my perspective on how to address them.
In my 3 years of experience in town serving on the Planning Board, the biggest buzzword I have heard is economic development. How do we drive commercial development and increase commercial property value to increase local tax revenue, lessening the burden on residents while also gaining the services and benefits that new thriving businesses provide.
I believe both my 3 years of experience serving on the Planning Board, the last 2 years as Vice Chairman, and attending seminars on regional planning thoughts, provide me with a lot of great perspective and knowledge of how our planning, land use, and permitting framework impacts economic development both positively and negatively.
Further, in my private practice I have been in front of permitting boards in several other towns representing a spectrum of clients in both residential and commercial setting. I have there gained the perspective and appreciation of the challenges the drivers of economic development face. From this work I am also able to compare and contrast regulatory frameworks and styles from varying municipalities, using that insight to better our own frameworks.
Vibrant Local Government
Many, if not most, of the challenges that are discussed in town hall, at public hearings, and in department meetings, are not going to be solved overnight, just as they were not created overnight. There's no quick fix solution to any of our problems. As much as we need to propose resolutions to problems that must be solved, we more importantly need to work on putting in place the systems that make our local government capable of solving these problems.
There are any number of ways we can create a more vibrant local government, but in this small space I'll focus quickly on one. We hear the buzzwords of trust, transparency, and accountability with which any level or department of government should carry itself. But I also believe we should focus just as much on ensuring a positive, kind, and constructive atmosphere in our civic engagement.
I believe very strongly in the mission of the current charter commission. My experience over the past few years has taught me that new structural efficiencies are desperately needed in order to have a functioning 21st Century local government. Just as important as building structural efficiency is the desperate need to maintain a positive and constructive dialogue. A structural reorganization of our local government to make it more streamlined, and a thorough commitment to positive and constructive dialogue between all personnel, employees and volunteers, are both essential to maintaining a vibrant local government for the 21st Century.
Budget and Services
Our budget and the services it funds are of course an important current topic. My work with many of the local non-profit organizations has taught me that we don't stand alone in facing this battle. Times are tough with any organization. Being a homeowner and taxpayer in town and a small business owner in Attleboro for three years has also given me an appreciation for the challenges homeowners and small business owners face.
It is okay and even necessary to either want to cut services, or believe we must in order to ensure a healthy budget. However, one must come from a position of fully understanding and appreciating the services and benefits we derive from our local government. Having gone to school here, been significantly involved with the Parks and Rec Department, and having good relationships with many of our local department heads and employees, I understand the impact that our services have on our citizens. The loss of services can represent not only a loss in a prideful social fabric, but further a loss to essential services of citizens in need.
However budgetary considerations are made they must begin first with an appreciation for the services and benefits that the employees and volunteers of this town provide.