Friday, April 27, 2007
Three candidates vie for two seats on Board of Health
There are two open seats on the Board of Health (BOH) and three candidates running, providing Carlisle with a choice. All three appeared at the League of Women Voters forum on Sunday. When asked, "What are the biggest challenges or highest priorities facing the Board of Health?" incumbent Martha Bedrosian, incumbent William Risso and challenger Christopher Deignan all stressed maintaining Carlisle's water quality and quantity.
Bedrosian, who has served on the board since 1999, believes the BOH "is a strong, solid board." The board is very active in emergency preparedness. Over the time she has been there, she has worked on manure management and deed restriction regulations. She has helped with the health fair, reducing the use of pesticides used in town and getting the Saturday Farmers' Market started. She would like to see the town safely grow and protect resources.
Chris Deignan, who has a construction background, has enjoyed life in Carlisle since 1986. He has four children. "We have a high quality of life and we count our blessings. It is a unique community." He is running because he is concerned about preserving water quality, particularly as high-density 40B affordable housing developments come to Carlisle.
William Risso is a civil engineer who has taken septic design and installation classes. This is his second year on the board. "It took a year to get up to speed." He feels he could contribute significantly more if he were elected for another three-year term. Risso believes it is important to continue to update the town's bylaws. It would be helpful to have continuity on the board to finish this task. He said he has learned a lot from the Coventry Woods project.
The biggest challenge, says Risso, is managing the town's growth over the next five to ten years. He wants to influence that growth "so taxes go up as reasonably as possible." He sees a financial crisis in the next few years and said the board needs to work within the guideline budget. Another top priority is to protect the quality of water. Quantity of water could be a problem as well. In addition, Risso has been working for two years on emergency preparedness. "The school is our dispensing place. We need to complete the plan."
Deignan sees Carlisle as a unique town, where "there is no back-up for water." The highest priority is water quality, he said, and we need to manage growth to preserve the resource. We need to look at the size of developments and how they affect abutters. He also said Lyme Disease was a concern and we needed programs to safeguard the town.
"Water is at the top of our list," said Bedrosian. "Development comes in waves. 40Bs cause a demand on water. What you take out must be put back. What goes back into the ground water is what we must be careful about. We need to be more proactive." She suggested that a sub-committee be formed to look at options for "what-if" scenarios such as less quantity or less quality of water being available. "Title 5 safeguards our town." More specifically, Bedrosian suggested focusing on how to use the school wastewater treatment plant more effectively. "Could residents with less than two acres use it? How can we work together? Feasibility and cost need to be explored."
Bedrosian also puts outreach high on that list. "We want to meet the needs of seniors and young folks and provide a safe environment to live in...We need to reach out to individuals, to assist our seniors to offset the cost to live in this town." Dual-income parents may need additional services.
In closing statements, Deignan said, "I am sitting between two very qualified people. I'm a citizen with a sense of obligation and would like to give back to the town. The Board of Health is a place to devote myself."
In his closing statement, Risso thanked the audience for coming on such a nice day . "I would appreciate your vote. I have learned a lot and hope to bring it forward."
Bedrosian said, "We're in the midst of development. The face of Carlisle could really change." She wants to continue to be there and help with regulations and advocate for all in town. "It's a wonderful town."
© 2007 The