This coming town election is the most crucial election in twenty years and the stakes couldn’t be higher. The results of this election will determine the direction this town takes for the next ten years and beyond.
The issues are clear. Will the Board of Selectmen be a town centered board maintaining Stoneham’s independence or a cheering section for Beacon Hill and their special interests? Also will the Board continue to put the taxpayer’s first, or will it pursue the big government tax payer be dammed philosophy of Beacon Hill? Let us look at our choices.
On one side you have the incumbent Selectmen up for re-election this year who have during the worst economic recession since the depression directed the resizing of the town departments and the containment of budget growth while maintaining government services.
On the other side you have a School Committee member whose response was to call for and demand more revenue. During her time on the School Committee, their controllable budget (less health insurance, pensions and the repayment of debt) increased over 20%, while the Board of Selectman held the Town side to level funding. At the height of the downturn she fought for and gave the school employees a double digit pay increase, while the Selectmen held the town employees to a zero percent increase.
The other challenger, the former Finance Board chairman’s strategy for dealing with the downturn was to recommend and push for an unbalanced budget, a trash fee and an override. His philosophy is clear when he wrote, “Let the residents see/feel the pain in DPW this year and they will beg for three people with an override next year”. His motives are clear; bigger government, more spending and more money for special interests from the taxpayers. He proposed and is supporting another override on the same ballot this year, the Community Preservation Act tax.
Your choice is clear; two candidates favor controlled government spending, managed growth and taxpayer relief, while the other two candidates favor more spending, bigger government and more taxation.
Who will stand up and fight the State to protect Stoneham’s interests? Again, the choice is clear. The incumbent Selectmen up for re-election have been outspoken critics of the MWRA with regard to the proposed pipeline and storage tank. They also have proposed a law suit against the State because of Stoneham’s unfair share of educational funding.
The challengers, a Beacon Hill employee and a Beacon Hill insider have remained unusually quiet on these issues. They are once again being a cheerleader for Beacon Hill.
As you can see the results of this year’s election are critical and will decide what direction Stoneham takes over the next decade. It can maintain the philosophy of budget constraint, managed growth and taxpayer relief or it can take the direction of uncontrolled spending, uncontrolled growth and the implementation of more taxes, fees and surcharges. There has never been a clearer choice and it is your vote that will decide.