Friday, April 27, 2007
Candidates point out challenges for Carlisle at LWV forum
The League of Women Voters held the annual Candidates Forum last Sunday at the Town Hall. It was a time to put faces and personalities to names. Sara Rolley was the moderator.
With the exception of two races, for seats on the Carlisle School Committee and the Board of Health (see articles below and on page 7), most candidates are running unopposed.
Priscilla Stevens is running uncontested for reelection as Library Trustee. "I really have enjoyed being a trustee. I have seen a lot of changes in the last three years. We have been improving technology. The library is now wireless and we now have e-BooksThe library is very efficiently run and we are sensitive to the town's fiscal needs."
When asked what changes or challenges she sees coming in the next five years as the town grows, she replied, "Keeping abreast of technology and keeping up with the level of services."
Incumbent Alan Lehotsky is unopposed for the Housing Authority. He has been involved with affordable housing since 1998, and sees the most significant challenge facing Carlisle to be how to manage growth. For example, the middle school class size reaching 26 students: "Five years ago that would have been unacceptable."
When asked about a timeline for development of the Benfield property, Lehotsky said, "We are still waiting for the conservation restrictions to be approved. That is gating the RFP." He expects to have an RFP (Request For Proposal) submitted this summer. Then the Housing Authority will find a development partner. They expect to be working with the Zoning Board of Appeals through winter and spring and hope to start construction a year from now.
Board of Selectmen
Tim Hult, who is running unopposed for the Board of Selectmen, could not attend the Forum but sent along a statement to be read. He sees the town facing two major challenges: the ability to maintain town services and to take on significant capital expenditures for two schools. "It won't be easy. We will need the cooperation of the whole town." He added that 40B developments need to be carefully and deliberately reviewed.
Ken Hoffman, Marc Lamere and Carol Nathan are running for the three open positions on the Planning Board. Carol Nathan could not attend the Forum.
Hoffman believes the biggest challenge facing Carlisle is "growth, and in specific, 40Bs. [The problem is] how to manage the growth process and maintain Carlisle's current character."
Lamere feels the town needs to be fiscally minded so people are not forced to leave town due to escalating taxes. He would like to see some choices allowing residents to stay in town.
Lehotsky asked if either candidate would support charging builders a fee if they did not build 40Bs. Hoffman said, "We should take a look at that." Lamere said, "I am open for ways to do the right thing with affordable housing."
When asked how the community could help the Planning Board, both candidates said "communication." Lamere said, "Give us your thoughts. I'd encourage people to come to our meetings." Hoffman agreed. "People need to show up at the meetings and voice their opinions."
Board of Assessors
James Marchant is running uncontested for the Board of Assessors. In his opinion, "The board is running pretty well. There's been a lack of controversy." Marchant sees most abatement requests from the owners of older, smaller homes. Even though their houses are depreciating, the land value keeps increasing, "As land values have risen, small houses are valued close to the value of the land. Land values are still going up."
© 2007 The