Friday, April 28, 2006
Candidates for town offices introduce themselves
Candidates were asked to write about themselves, and share their views on major issues they would deal with as town officials. The following questions were sent to the candidates for the Board of Selectmen:
1. Tell us about yourself including what educational background, experience, or special interests you have that are relevant to the position you are seeking.
2. What are the three biggest challenges the Selectmen will face during the next three years?
3. What town services do you consider most important to reduce, preserve or expand, given the competing needs for limited tax dollars?
Board of Selectmen
I've lived in Carlisle for 16 years with my wife Lynne, and we have raised two boys who have gone through the Carlisle public school system. I have been active in the Boy Scout troop in Carlisle with my two sons. I am an ironworker by trade, and having worked on many large projects over the last 30 years, including schools and municipal buildings, I have directly relevant experience with the implementation of large public projects. With new school construction planned for Carlisle and CCHS, and affordable housing coming soon, I anticipate this experience will be valuable on the Board of Selectmen. I also served as a member of the Benfield Planning Task Force and am well-versed in the issues surrounding that project.
Holding the line on taxes so that more residents don't leave will be the biggest challenge that the Selectmen face. Carlisle has property taxes that are among the highest in the state, and we're levied a Community Preservation Act (CPA) tax on top of that.
There are major school expenditures looming. The replacement of CCHS will require a significant capital outlay, and the addition required at the Carlisle School will come at approximately the same time.
The development of affordable housing will also be a challenge. I'm in favor of a mixed-income approach, because it prevents the economic segregation inherent in a strictly low-income project, and it provides market-rate units to subsidize the cost of the development of the low-income units, thereby relieving much of the burden to taxpayers.
I think town services are adequate at their current levels and should not be expanded.
Board of Selectmen
I am a Carlisle native, having lived the better part of the last 42 years in Carlisle. I bring to the Board of Selectmen a perspective of someone who has grown up in town, worked in and for the town, and is currently residing in town with my wife and young children. Over the years I have participated in many volunteer and community-related activities including: the Old Home Day Committee, the Celebrations Committee, the Carlisle Fire Department, police and fire dispatcher, youth basketball coach, the Republican Town Committee and the Boy Scouts. I am currently serving on the Board of Selectmen and am seeking re-election.
I value the rural character of the town of Carlisle, its excellent school system and the many wonderful people I've met here over the years. We have a unique community that requires hard work to preserve and maintain, and I am committed to helping shape the future. I consider myself to be fiscally conservative, but also fiscally practical. As a community, we must spend our limited tax dollars wisely.
I hold a Bachelor's Degree from Boston College. I am employed by Kistler and Knapp Builders, Inc. of Acton as Vice President of Operations. I reside with my wife, Mary Beth, and our three children on Cross Street.
The broad challenge we face as a community in the coming years is maintaining the sense and quality of community that many have worked so hard to create. This broad challenge is related to three very specific issues.
First: Housing. We must face the inevitability of 40B comprehensive permits and be pro-active in creating affordable units under our own terms. Similarly, we must consider programs that increase the stock of more reasonably priced housing.
Secondly: Taxes. We need to continue to strive to manage our limited resources as effectively as possible. We must work to maintain stability in the tax rate and keep Carlisle affordable for long-term residents. At the same time we must strive for a balance that allows us to fund the many necessary and desirable services.
Finally: Schools. Carlisle is valued because of its outstanding educational programs.
However, we face significant budget pressures, the dynamic of changing student populations (perhaps less students in K-8 and disparate changes in the assessment ratio at CCHS), and aging facilities. We must work collaboratively in order to manage these important town resources without sacrificing other critical needs.
Service cuts / enhancements
I'm an advocate for balance. I support all of the general services that Carlisle currently funds: excellent schools, first-rate public safety departments, high-quality recreation (active and passive), and strong elder services.
We must strive in all areas to utilize our limited tax dollars as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Almost ten years ago, my family and I moved to Carlisle. We arrived in time for our oldest child to start kindergarten. We have four children, three are currently attending the Carlisle School, and the oldest is now a freshman at CCHS. I am very invested in the school and have had many opportunities to help in my children's classrooms and experience first hand Carlisle's educational excellence. Outside of the school, I was a Cub Scout Leader for six years, and have been an assistant scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts for the past four years. I am also involved in youth sports, coaching soccer, basketball and baseball. I am currently serving on the Board of Directors for Concord-Carlisle Youth Baseball.
Prior to moving to Carlisle, I served for seven years as the president of the board of directors for the 30-unit condominium development where we lived in Derry, New Hampshire. This gave me budgeting and management experience, as well as extensive experience in creating a consensus among people with differing points of view. I am currently self-employed as a software engineer. I work from my home, which allows me the flexibility to volunteer at school and other community organizations.
The School Committee faces serious challenges over the next few years. By the end of this school year, the superintendent and both principals will have been replaced in just two years. This has the potential to significantly change the character of our school. The School Committee must assure that, in spite of the changes in its administration, our school continues to provide the quality of education we have come to expect in Carlisle.
The School Building Committee is investigating long-term solutions to address facilities problems, and a similar effort is underway for CCHS. These challenges need to be met in a way that minimizes the impact on the town budget, while at the same time solves our facilities requirements into the future.
I believe that as a community our most important responsibility is to educate our children. It is the School Committee's responsibility to maximize the return that the town receives on the money it spends providing that education. The budgetary challenge is twofold. The budget must not ask for more than the town can afford, but more importantly, it must not ask for more than the school needs. School programs must be reviewed to assure that they are serving a real need, and are doing so in the most efficient manner possible.
The issues faced by the community will present many challenges. I promise to meet each challenge with an open mind and find solutions that will best serve the needs of the school and community.
Our family moved to Carlisle in 2001. My husband and I have three sons, ages ten, nine, and five, all of whom attend the Carlisle Public Schools. When we discovered Carlisle, we fell in love with it. Professionally, I worked for a significant amount of time as a prosecutor in juvenile court. My experiences there highlighted the importance of family, community and open lines of communication in the development of children. Recently, my professional endeavors have shifted to special education law.
The biggest challenges facing the School Committee include building a new school facility, managing the budget and overseeing the new administrators and the curriculum they set forth.
All townspeople have to contribute to a school building project regardless of whether they have children enrolled in the school. Additionally, if building renovations are occurring at CCHS, we need to consider the tax ramifications of simultaneous projects. As a School Committee member, I would ensure that the public is clearly informed of plans so they are comfortable with how their tax dollars are spent. Presently, our middle school is beyond capacity. While studies show school enrollment declining in the decade ahead, housing development could bring more students to the school. I would examine all population projections when considering building proposals so that the finished product aligns with the town's realistic needs.
Next year's projected school budget is approximately $8 million. Since a majority of townspeople do not have children at the school, I would try to develop creative ways to ease the tax burden on this group. I would look beyond conventional funding and seek to develop other sources of revenue. While many of the expenses are fixed, some areas are flexible. I would explore all avenues fully.
The school curriculum is primary to maintaining the quality of our children's education. I would work with our new administrators to inform constituents of the values and purposes of each grade's curriculum. Where enhancement opportunities exist, I would present these options to the public. Additionally, I would ensure that our school continues to maintain the values which have made it stellar.
Regularly attending school meetings and speaking with faculty and administrators has given me a thorough understanding of the issues facing our school. This knowledge, along with my passion for education, my ability to ask tough, revealing questions and my creativity in crafting effective solutions would make me a productive member of the School Committee and an advocate for all residents.
Board of Assessors
No statement was received.
Board of Health
I consider it to be an honor and privilege to serve as an elected municipal official and I will pursue the best interests of the town in all my deliberations. I have previously served as an elected Selectman and an elected Sewer Commissioner in a neighboring town, thus announcing my status as a newcomer to the Town of Carlisle.
I seek a seat on the Carlisle Board of Health. I ask for the votes of the community based primarily on my experience with wastewater treatment and conveyance systems as a registered professional engineer (B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Maine) and as an expert (certainly enviable) in the sewage field as a designer of hundreds of septic systems. I am also familiar with groundwater hydrology, wells and water supply.
I will bring to the position a commitment to fairness, a proactive approach, a progressive outlook embracing technological solutions, and civility in my dealings.
Future challenges for the Board of Health include implementing the major revisions to Title 5 forthcoming in the next few months, addressing issues related to individual new and repaired septic designs and the impact of more dense developments in the form of "40B" projects, addressing ongoing quality and quantity of water supply issues, dealing with local health issues such as Lyme disease, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, flus and related maladies, disaster planning, health screenings, animal control and other health and safety related community issues. I look forward to offering a new perspective on these current and future challenges.
I will welcome all input and suggestions in my capacity as your public servant on the Board of Health and I greatly appreciate your vote.
Board of Health
My wife, Tricia Smith, and I moved to Carlisle in 1993 and live on the corner of Indian Hill Road and Concord Street, where we raise dairy goats, make cheese, bake sourdough breads and grow vegetables.
As a graduate of Tufts University and a Registered Professional Civil Engineer. with over 30 years experience, who has been continually involved in the design of on-site sewage disposal systems, water supply systems and stormwater management systems, I am well versed in all matters pertaining to site permitting in Massachusetts.
I am a Senior Vice President and Director at Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, an Architecture & Engineering firm in Cambridge of about 160 people, where I am responsible for our Civil Engineering, Landscape Architecture and Planning groups.
I was on the Building Committee for the Town Hall. I am the chair of the Water Quality Committee, and a consultant to the School Building Committee for the Wastewater Treatment Facility design
In the early '70s (1970 to 1976) I was the Board of Health consultant for the Town of Lincoln and from 1972 to 1976 was the Board of Health consultant to the Town of Carlisle.
I believe the town faces serious issues regarding the water supply and sewage disposal issues that affordable housing developments might bring with their potential for increased development density.
I look forward to continuing to take part in town government.
Board of Health
My husband and I moved to Carlisle in 2003. We enjoy the many things that the town offers: its tranquility, the Gleason Library, the miles of back roads for bicycling, etc. Currently, I work at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Research Oversight to help ensure that VA research programs comply with the federal regulations and VA policies governing human subjects' protection, laboratory animal welfare, research safety/security and research misconduct. I have over 15 years of experience in the healthcare field that includes policy analysis, educational program development and health services research. My education includes a BS in business administration, a MA in health economics, and a MA in public health.
I believe that the two biggest challenges facing the Board of Health (BOH) during the next few years will be protecting Carlisle's water supply and promoting community awareness of present and future public health issues. An increase in both residential and high density housing puts an unknown stress on our town's only water supply and the environment around us. I look forward to participating in the Board of Health's approval process to help make certain that every consideration is made to protect our water supply for the future.
My primary interest in being a Board of Health member is to support the Board's public health policy and planning initiatives. I hope to use my background and experience to work on the town's emergency/disaster response plan; provide support for ongoing BOH-sponsored programs; and help develop any additional public health initiatives as needed to serve the residents of Carlisle.
My husband, Don and I, moved to Carlisle from Boston in 1992. At the time, we were both working at Fidelity Investments but were looking for a small town where we could raise our family and become a part of a community. Since then, we have been actively involved in the Carlisle Public School where our two children, Peter and Lindsay, are sixth- and third-graders, the Trinitarian Church in Concord and at the Gleason Library, where I was a member of the Friends of the Gleason Library for several years.
I am personally an avid reader and have been part of a Carlisle book group for nine years. Our family frequently visits the Gleason Library where we enjoy the wide range of books, reference materials and videos. I have always loved libraries and place great value on what they offer a community. Over the years, I have been impressed with the quality of programs made available to the Carlisle community — the children's reading programs, events such as the Halloween pumpkin-carving contest, as well as the many lectures and seminars made available to the public. This is truly an institution which should be treasured and cared for. In my view, one of the greatest challenges facing our town is determining ways to manage our growth and the accompanying demands on town services and institutions like the library.
I was involved with budgeting, strategic planning and grant proposals in the work I did at Fidelity. Much of the volunteer work I have done since retiring to stay home with my family has involved working on boards and committees where decisions about the future course of an organization are made. I feel confident that I can assume the position of Library Trustee, and working along side the other Trustees, add value to the process. I would consider it an honor to serve the Gleason Library and the Carlisle community in this capacity.
together and thoughtful consideration and compromise to make some tough choices. Better to be proactive than reactive.
I've lived in Carlisle since 1998. I served on the Youth Commission, write Mosquito Forum essays, and contribute graphic design services to various non-profits in town. On the Planning Board for four years, I chaired the task force that produced Carlisle's Affordable Housing Plan.
Two challenges facing the Planning Board are:
1. Finding more citizens willing to contribute their time by serving on the board. There's a steep learning curve but other board members and our experienced administrator are there to help. For those looking to start more slowly, we have two associate member positions open: No need to go through the election process or to attend all the meetings — just an opportunity to learn the ropes and become more connected to the community.
2. Better communication and cooperation among boards. Even in stable times this is important. Dealing with the inexorable tides of change sweeping the region makes it even more so. The Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Board of Health should open up dialogues so we can find some common ground and work to achieve some shared goals. All boards need to coordinate with and assist the Housing Authority. I'd like to see the Municipal Land Committee revived to develop a comprehensive approach to land planning in town. Currently multiple players seem to be addressing specific parcels (Banta, Foss, Greenough, Benfield, etc.) or specific issues (recreation, stewardship, affordable housing, etc.) more or less separately, with no overarching plan. I'm not sure it is good to set priorities primarily through the groups that deal with funding (FinCom, Long-Term Caps, Community Preservation Committee).
A lot of committed citizens and town employees are working diligently. It will take strong leadership to bring everyone together and thoughtful consideration and compromise to make some tough choices. Better to be proactive than reactive.
No statement was received.
My wife, Karen Huntress, and I moved to Carlisle in 1994. We have two daughters. I have 20 years experience as a commercial real estate and environmental attorney with Hill & Barlow and DLA Piper in Boston and am a past President of the Massachusetts Real Estate Bar Association. Since 1997, I have served as a Trustee of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation, where I spearheaded CCF's successful efforts to preserve O'Rourke Farm and over 110 acres of the 170-acre Benfield Farm. I recently helped draft the first major revision in Massachusetts zoning law since 1975, Chapter 40R the Smart Growth Zoning Act, and its companion legislation Chapter 40S, providing State "school child cost insurance" to towns adopting 40R zoning.
The three biggest Planning Board challenges I see:
(1) Large lot zoning and home rule are already under attack (see, e.g. the recent Pioneer Institute / Kennedy School study, which specifically targeted Carlisle). We must proactively explain our situation, especially our near-unique lack of a piped water supply, to regional and state planners and policy makers.
(2) The Legislature is not going to repeal or gut 40B. We will need to implement the housing production plan filed with the State. An affordable housing accessory housing bylaw, which many have already been working on, is a good approach but economically viable primarily for apartments within existing structures. I would also like to explore 40R/40S approaches, public-private partnerships for market-based, mixed-income solutions, and regional compacts.
(3) Housing prices and taxes present great challenges to young adults and seniors. We should discuss ways of giving current Carlisle homeowners genuine regulatory flexibility to house more family members, at different stages of life, here in Carlisle, which could also help promote a more diverse, stable, long-term Carlisle community
My family and I moved to Carlisle in 1989. My husband Steve and I have been married for 32 years and have a 21-year-old daughter, Melissa.
Volunteer activities that I have participated in include Carlisle Extended Day, Brownie and Girl Scout troop helper and "Cookie Mom," and the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary. I have been an active member of the Carlisle Colonial Minutemen since 1995 and I cherish the opportunity to be a part of the living history that is so active in this part of the country.
I hold Bachelors' degrees in Mathematics from the University of Florida and in Accounting from the University of North Florida, and have been a Certified Public Accountant since 1985.
Past town government experience includes serving as secretary for both the Conservation Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. During that time I learned a great deal about the Town Clerk position and how Carlisle's town government functioned. That knowledge, along with my love of this community and my reverence for its history, are among the many reasons I enjoy being Town Clerk.
As part of the Town Clerks' Election Task Force, I am working with five other Town Clerks and the Director of the Elections Division for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to develop a series of elections training courses. We present these continuing education courses at the three Town Clerks' conferences held each year. Working with other very experienced Town Clerks has allowed me to broaden my knowledge base while developing valuable peer relationships with other Town Clerks across the Commonwealth.
It is a privilege to represent the town in this ultimate customer service role. I enjoy immensely having the opportunity to help new residents learn about our town. I take pride in being able to register new voters, especially those just turning 18, and helping them learn about the responsibilities that come with being a voter. The Town Clerk is part "goodwill ambassador" and part "card catalogue/search engine" for all that is Carlisle. I welcome your support in this endeavor.
I am an attorney who concentrates in insolvency and corporate law. Jan, my wife, and I have lived in Carlisle since 1975 and our three daughters have attended the Carlisle Public School as well as Concord-Carlisle High School. I have been a member of the Planning Board (14 years) and one term as a Selectman. I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Carlisle Elderly Housing Association. I am also a veteran, having retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve with the rank of Captain. I believe that one must contribute to the community in which one lives, and I view being Town Moderator as my contribution.
I want to run Town Meeting as efficiently as I can. To that end I have insisted on presentations that are crisp and short. I am exploring bundling of Warrant Articles that usually have no opposition and can be voted in bulk. I have strived to make the process accessible and hope that I can continue to do so in the future. I encourage anyone who has a suggestion to make the process shorter, but without the loss of the flavor of Town Meeting, to contact me.
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