To The Daily Sun,
I am running for Bristol Selectboard for two very important issues and a number of other general reasons.
Bristol will be making decisions on a long overdue expansion and construction of facilities for the police department and town offices. I bring six years of experience on the Selectboard, which included involvement in several substantial town construction projects.
When I started on the Selectboard, the first major issue I confronted with was decisions leading to the demolition of the former Mica building. I do not take the seizure of property by government lightly so I was a strong voice in protecting the rights and safety of ALL of the property owners involved. The Central Street Bridge construction was nearing completion. I helped work out issues between the design firm and building contractor to bring this project to a close. On the Smith River Bridge construction, I took the lead to talk to NHDOT and the Town of Hill's Selectboard. As a result, the Smith River bridge project was fully funded by NHDOT and the town of Hill ran 100 percent of the finances through their books making the bridge construction truly a zero impact on Bristol's local tax rate. I was part of the Selectboard during the challenging and successful downtown rebuild. I also gave advice and input for the library addition and was part of the decision making process for its construction. I was the leading proponent on the board for financing the library addition for a short 10 year term to keep the debt limit on the town minimized. I feel that my engineering background and previous Selectboard experience will help the town act on the planning that has been done by the recent space needs committee. With the right decisions, a sensible, cost effective and much needed solution for Bristol's PD and town office building needs can be brought to the town for approval.
The second prominent issue facing the town of Bristol that I am greatly concerned about is the recent high rate of employee turnover. The training and learning period for new employees is expensive and has a negative impact on services. Bristol has very high quality employees in all its departments and good leadership at the top is required create a good work environment and to retain such valuable assets.
Another important issue for the town includes the proposed 2017 budget. As a member of the Budget Committee, I helped bring a budget and set of warrant article recommendations that, as estimated per state guidelines, will keep the amount of money required to be raised through taxation equal that required in 2016. Modifications will as always be made at Town Meeting; however, this year's budget will be very tight and will require close oversight by the Selectboard in 2017. Cash flow will need to be especially watched to avoid the town falling back into the wasteful cycle of requiring short term loans to operate the town. During my past terms on the Selectboard, the need for this borrowing was eliminated and I do not want to see the town return to the practice.
The tax rate is always a key issue. Keeping the tax rate low is more than just cutting spending. It comes from creating a culture within the departments of good budgeting, watchful spending, and constantly looking for new and efficient ways of doing your job. These are fundamental skills I have used throughout my engineering career on many multi-million dollar projects. Again, leadership starts at the top.
An even better way to keep the tax rate low is to increase the base valuation. Bristol needs to address the issue of attracting and retaining businesses in the town. Here I think my personal and previous Selectboard experience along with my educational background is a valuable tool and asset for the community. Foresight and planning is an essential part of a good Selectboard. I would like to see the Selectboard take the input of the residents of the town along
with that of the town's businesses, boards and committees to develop a business plan. Bristol, as a town, needs to decide what direction it would like to follow in terms of business development and then execute the steps to take it in that direction.
I hope you, my fellow citizens, see value in these ideas and feel I am worthy of your vote.
- Category: Letters
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