Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2011 Sandwich Board of Selectmen candidate questions

This post will provide a single place for readers to ask their questions of the candidates for board of selectmen in Sandwich. As is normal, anyone can post here anonymously, but if you do, I strongly suggest that you select the Name/URL option and choose a screen name in order for the candidates to reply to your questions/comments without confusion.

40 comments:

  1. The current Board of Selectman is working to prepare and present their annual Long Range Plan to the Town at May Town Meeting. It will contain a Capital Investment portion with a short strategic list of projects to work on for the next few years. What would be your top 5 projects on that list and why?

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  2. John, After 3 years on the board, what are you top three priories going forward?

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  3. To all the candidates for Selectman: Do you think what is happening as a result of this past years decisions by the Sandwich School Committee will have a negative effect on the town's economy and why?

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  4. I spoke with Randy this morning and we agreed that it might be better if I move my responses to the several follow-ups (from Greg, Anonymous, and Earle) that were under the stream began with my 3/15 posting. Having the discussion here might be easier for all to track.

    I do want to be clear about my comments on police and fire and to try to answer the questions around "certified free cash".

    This may seem simplistic, but let's start at the basics. If we were going to get together and start our own town, what would it look like? We agree to pool some of our resources (say, property taxes) to have the Town (our local government) handle some things that we cannot do ourselves or that the Town might be able to do better. Where to start?

    First on the list, I suggest, is public safety. We would hire the best possible police and fire fighters and first responders to keep our selves and our property safe.

    Second, we create the best school system we can so that each of our children has the opportunity to reach his or her highest potential.

    Third, we'll probably want to be sure we have good roads and infrastructure so that police and fire can reach us easily and safely when needed, and our kids can safely travel back and forth to schools....plowing and paving are good things.

    Everything else, it seems to me, follows from that.

    Rather than starting a new Town, here we are in Sandwich -- a wonderful town with a rich history and natural beauty, with 23,000 residents and 3,600 students in our school system. Seems to me the priorities ought to be the same, whether in 382 year old Sandwich or that new town we were starting.

    Our schools are doing quite well. Students are achieving on the MCAS standardized tests, and we strive to provide unique services wherever necessary. As the student population grew rapidly, we responded, by building new schools and adding teachers and staff. We have kept to that pace until just recently. The School budget has taken some hits in FY10 and FY11, but overall, the schools are still performing well and offering the opportunity for a quality education for each of our students. We want to try to ensure that the schools don't take any more hits, or at least that the quality of our system does not suffer because of budget cut-backs. We need to be sure the funding is being put to its best possible use (and, frankly, I think we are close to that mark).

    But where are we with our police and fire? When the population grew rapidly over the past 25 years, we have not built the public safety areas accordingly. We have 41 personnel in the fire department and 33 in the police, protecting a population of 23,000 spread over 44 square miles (just about twice the size of Manhattan!). And, honestly, we are seldom ever at full force with individuals sick or injured, in training or retiring, called up for national guard duty, on other leave, etc.

    End of Part 1 . . . more to follow

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  5. Part 2 . . .

    We have not added fire-fighters / emergency response personnel for many long years. East Sandwich station has been closed for nearly as long and yet, it is a 10- to 12-minute reponse time to far reaches from the Main Station. Heart attack victims in East Sandwich just have to hold their breath and hope for the best? Over the past ten years, ambulance runs per year have increased about 42% -- from 1759 runs in 2001 to 2490 in 2010. Those increased calls are one factor in the fire department's whopping over-time budget.

    The police department also has not grown to keep pace as our Town grew in population. The national average for police personnel (per several chiefs) is 1.8 up to 2 police officers for each 1,000 people in the population. We would have to add 10 new members just to get to the average.

    This is the wort possible time to be thinking of adding any operational costs to the Town, and we certainly cannot afford to come even close to levels of staffing we really should have in these departments.

    I don't have any money trees, not even a little shrub, but I do have a some suggestions. I beleive we need to make the decision that adding public safety staff is a major priority for Sandwich. We should put this in line with other critical priorities that will then help us make good decisions to measure our financial decisions. If, for example, we need to make staff cuts in the years ahead due to budget woes, we should not be cutting staff where we had set the priority to grow, so no public safety personnel ought to be cut to balance a budget.

    By agreeing the growth of these departments is our collective priority, then we can measure future financial decisions against how well we are meeting this priority.

    I suggest that we can start to address this situation by looking at the "certified free cash." Here's my brief re-cap of that cash. Each year, the Town votes to adopt balanced budgets for Schools and Municipal government operations, as well as for group health insurance, retirement, property/liabilty insurances, capital, and so on. One of the lines on the income side is something called certified free cash.

    There is a very complicated formula to determine the free cash calculation: e-mail separately and I will give you the complete breakdown of what you add and subtract, add and subtract to get the bottom number. Basically, it comes down to unspent monies in four major areas : Schools, Town Gov, Health Insurance, and Property and Liability Insurance.

    From FY99 through FY11, the certified free cash has averaged $1.6- or $1.7-million.

    The School department, by authority, can transfer funds within its budget from department to department. Working in this frame, the Schools allocate and encumber all their funds so that all is spent (or as close to all as possible) at year end. The other three areas are budgeted and administered by Municipal staff andcannot be moved to other departments or areas without approval at Town Meeting (good protection for us taxpayers).

    So, every year, the Town turns back funds from areas where the budget provided a cushion or some economy was made, or funds were saved. Just from Town government, that amounts to about $200K each year.

    And, Anonymous, yes, the health and other insurances are also covering school personnel (which is the largest percentage of course) but are budgeted for and administered by Town staff. I have been pushing for a clear method to account for how these are allocated, since it seems the Schools and the Town finance people cannot agree on numbers.

    End of Part 2 . . . one more brief entry to follow

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  6. And FINALLY Part 3 . . .


    For as long as anyone (that I have spoken to so far) can remember, the Town has always put the "free cash" back into the general coffers, to be split out roughly 2/3 to the schools and 1/3 to the municipal goverment. This "free cash" is really our tax money that has not been used as we budgeted and apporved. I suggest that we look at that money and see if some or all of it should go back (maybe by percentage) into the various streams it came out of. That is, put it back where we already said it should go.

    AS I said earlier (was it Part 1 or Part 2), this is certainly not the time to be adding staff with the very limited funds we have in Sandwich.

    So, not this year or even next year, but sometime soon, if we looked to the free cash and applied it as already voted, we might be able to dedicate the $200K or more coming from the Town Government to our priority of hiring more police and fire. The police and fire overtime budgets will be close to $1million for FY12. Adding full-time staff to either or both depatments won't eliminate the OT, but it would make a decent cut into it. Could we add a fourth patrol car to several shifts a week and maybe open East Sandwich Fire Station a few days a week for $500K or $600K? (If so what would tht do to other areas of our budget?)

    OK, I'll wrap this up here. Sorry to be so wordy in my reponse, but I wanted to be clear.

    Hope this made sense.

    Glenn

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  7. Glenn, thank you for an excellent explanation. I wish I had a money tree too, but in reality, you have offerred even more in your vision for prioritizing funds for public safety...growing it slowly and not just to some number a bean counter says is the average. That means, to me, that you understand the importance of what we spend our property tax money on. You have my ear! I am working on my vote... I will be glad to hear all of your long answers...something we need in this town of confused priorities.

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  8. Question to the candidates. What are the four most important qualities you would bring to the Board of Selectman?

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. I apologize in advance for the length of my observations/ideas/comments.

    1. I have thought of this idea for awhile and ironically it is what Provicetown will be voting on as written about in the CCT earlier this week, regarding all their town buildings. Redesign/contruct Oakcrest, to house all town office personnel. (DPW, Fire and Police not included.) Wouldn't it be great to have them all in one building? Once the decision is made to renovate OakCrest and relocate employees, put on the market the town buildings that would be empty upon renovation and relocation of employees. Clark Haddad (I voted to sell), Annex, Jan Sebastian, Council on Aging and dare I say the new Town Hall. Did I miss any town buildings?

    2. Imagine the Rec. Dept. having some of our more mature residents volunteering/mentoring/helping the Rec. Dept., especially during there summer programs. Also, the council on aging could offer great recreational activities for our more mature population. (Walking/hiking trails, kayaking etc.)

    3. Now don't get all panicky about the idea of selling the new town hall. Maybe a group that can get the monies from our preservation funds could buy the building. Imagine the tax money we put into the preservation fund going back to the town. Some ideas for purchasers, the new Economic Development group, historical society, or the Sandwich Chamber. They could also generate income from the second floor meeting room. Even a residential buyer, look at the former doll museum.

    4. I believe, as others, that we need a new police/fire complex. If you agree which of the former stations would you close and sell to help with the construction? My understanding is that there are already plans for this new complex, as indicated by Mr. Dunham during town meeting last fall. If so would you take the time to review them and voice your opintion prior to town election in May? Wouldn't these existing plans help defray the intial costs? I'm assuming that the new complex would be at the former Hewlett Packard field or the "Golden Triangle", right where a "new" town office building (redesigned Oakcrest) would be located.

    5. How about civilian police and fire dispatchers? How about using more civilian flaggers on road projects? Wouldn't these help to reduce Police/Fire OT?

    6. How about looking into outsourcing our ambulance service? What does it entail and cost to send out RFP's? Is the only cost the legal notices? The company could potentially purchase a station that would not be in use if we can agree to sell town properties.

    I will continue on a second post.

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  11. Continuation....

    7. Conduct a review of the fees the DPW collects from contractors, and where do these fees go into the town budget?

    8. A complete inventory of town owned vehicles, commercial trucks and equipment. When are they used and by which dept., and are they used? Compare the inventory to the invoices, payments and leases to and from outside vendors by the DPW? List of vehicles/equipment and why we own/lease them, should be made public to residents to curb all the why so many new vehicles.

    9. Tracking of "customers" to town offices, to identify what offices would be better served by part-time vs. all of our full-time employees. The potential cost savings in benefits could be worth the endeavor. Full or part-time employees, cross trained, to float to different offices to cover vacations, sick-time etc. Town management might get some useful feed back from these hires regarding what is done on a daily basis between departments, what is duplicated and what is unnecesary.

    10. My thoughts on the library, as I will always prefer holding a book and turning the page than reading on a "computer". If the trustees can raise the funds to match what the state provides without involving the town or resident pocketbooks, I say go for it. But we only need one library!!! So here I go again, we would sell the library down town, and that would be the town contribution to building the new library.

    11. Finally, wouldn't the sale of these town buildings to residential and/or commercial purchasers add funds to our tax collection?

    I believe the town needs and is ready to start thinking outside the box. We have to much town owned "stuff" they we don't need and can't afford to repair and/or maintain. We need to move forward and stop always looking at how it use to be!

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  12. To all the candidates, How important to you is establishing the trust of the community at large in the Board of Selectman as a body? If you think it is important that the Board be viewed as a body that can be trusted, how would you work toward that end in meetings?

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  13. I had a request to scour and clean up this thread for comments unrelated to candidate questions or answers from candidates.

    I assume the person requesting this objects to Looking Forward's list of actions to take relative to a myriad of town issues.

    Let me help by simply asking the candidates if any of Looking Forward's ideas merits further consideration by the board of selectmen.

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  14. Dear Mr. Pare,

    If I am understanding correctly the school department gets 2/3 of the "free cash" and the rest of the town departments only get 1/3. In essence it sounds like the school dept. is getting "rewarded" for spending down their budget? So I agree that a better formula for distributing "our" free money needs to be established. It sounds like a thorough review of department spending that occurs towards the end of each fiscal year might be in order. Maybe the last 3 years?

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  15. Good Morning . . . . To "Looking Forward", you seem to understand what I am saying about "free cash", and you have it just about right. But we need to look forward since we cannot go back and somehow re-allocate. As to your list of steps we might take, I think there are several ideas you outline that we should move on and a few we might want to look at more closely. Maybe my opponents might jump in here and give us their thoughts .. ? ? ...

    And, "Taxpayer Voter", I believe that building and maintaining trust in government is a critical part of the job of every elected and appointed official. As voters and taxpayers, we should expect nothing less. The Board of Selectmen have to work together collaboratively, showing respect for each other and airing their views without belittling or arguing. (I'm old enough to realize how difficult that is sometimes.) And, while I understand some individuals talk to each other outside of meetings, we deserve to have the full delibertion in a public meeting. On the Finance Committee, I've tried very hard to get each member to express him- or herself on issues, so that they are not put off by one or two others who are louder or have more to say. In order to ensure we didn't breach the trust people had in FinCom as a fair and independent watchdog group, I stepped down as Chair becasue of the campaign. I hope to bring that same sense of honor and leadership to the Board of Selectmen if you and your fellow voters elect me on May 5.

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  16. Dear Mr. Pare,
    Thank you for your prompt response. I agree we need to move forward, I'm not suggesting reallocating funds, just thought it might be helpful to see things in black white to make the change easier. Going out on a limb here, which suggestions would you indicate worth moving on and/or looking at more closely?

    Mr. Kennan and Mr. Pannorfi:
    Are any of my suggestions worth moving on and/or looking at more closely?

    Mr. Hunt,
    Thank you for letting me share my thoughts (typos in all) on your blog. I hope my posts give residents reason to pause and see that there are alternatives that the town has to help our financial situation.

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  17. Mr. Pannorfi,
    My mind isn't what it used to be, but were you instrumental in having the electric box relocated on town hall, prior to the renovations?

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  18. Mr. Pare, Mr. Kennan and Pannorfi,

    I heard a comment by I believe the Fire Chief on the recently broadcast FinCom meeting, and it got me wondering.

    Someone correct me if I've gotten the comment wrong. I believe the discussion was in regards to staffing and went along these lines, "We sometimes have one person out on a shift and other times have a whole shift out." I believe he is referencing personnel not showing up, for whatever the reason, for their scheduled shift.

    This leads me to ask some questions:
    1. How many sick days do our fire and police personnel get on an annual basis and can they be carried over?
    2. If someone calls out sick, and gets paid, can they work another shift during the same "7 day" period? and Would that be additional pay or OT pay? Wouldn't either case make the paycheck larger?
    3. How many personnel are allowed to switch out of a shift? I would think that only one or two should be allowed, therefore keeping the scheduled shift in tack.
    4. How about adding a trained volunteer fire dept. to offset the fire dept.?
    5. Since so many of our fire dept. personnel are fortunate enough to have outside commercial enterprises, what if the town bought the materials and they volunteered to help fix the building(s) they use which are in such disarray? At least until the town decides what to do about all our real estate.

    Thank you for your feedback.

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  19. To the forward looking Looking Forward: I just want to throw a few cents in the pot. One of the reasons citizens to vote is that they do not understand. It takes quite a bit of learning to understand the whole budget process. I kind of want to blend what you are saying with Mr. Johansen's accounting methods (make the schools and the general government do it the same way). If they did things the same way, like maybe not spending down budgets for the sake of spending down budgets, then we might see some savings. As an aside to what you are saying about free cash, am I correct in understanding that Bud Dunham is the one who does not want to put the responsibility of health insurance and retirement under the school budget? Does it not make more sense for the schools to pay for this? If they did, for example, they might think twice before hiring. A school employee is an expense of educating our babies, it should be in simple black and white as to how much health and retirement can be attributed to the schools, we should not have to look at one budget, then go to another to extract some of the information. Is someone try to confuse us. Maybe they have confused 80% of the people who did not vote in the last election.

    Thanks to you and Mr. Johansen for helping us see that there are ways out of some of our problems.

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  20. Good Afternoon,

    Provincetown, at "special town meeting Monday firmly accepted the possible sale of two antique town buildings", CCT 4/5/11. Please lets start looking at the escalating cost to repair "our antique" buildings and the fact we don't have the money to repair and maintain!

    The following is from the 4/1/11 CCT Cheers and Jeers editorial:

    "Sell Surplus Assets
    As every homeowner knows, total household debt must be viewed in the context of total assets. Yes, you may have $100,000 worth of debt, but your house and other assets are worth well over $200,000.

    So with all the fuss about the $14.2 trillion national debt, we don't understand why there is not more talk about selling surplus government assets.

    On a recent visit to Worcester, we noticed a vacant three-story brick building, about as long as a football field, that once served as a naval operations center. (Why the Navy needed a facility in land-locked Worcester is another story.) But there must be hundreds of similar assets across the country that the federal government could sell to reduce the national debt."

    This thought needs to apply to towns, and counties for that matter, not just on the federal level.

    Also, thank you to Mr. Pare for his honesty at last nights candidate forum! Tough choices need to be made and the meals tax is a very good place to start. Please look up an article in the CCT on March 24, 2011 regarding the success of the meals tax in other Cape towns. Newspapers aren't always correct, but can help raise awareness.

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  21. Carl Johansen would ask all three canidates,
    With all of the conflicted work projects that the Town adminastrator works on, who do you think should be showing more leadership into how they use there time. The budget is tight and the money even more so,do you think it is appropriate for the selectmen to direct the adminastrators time to the project that need to be addressed and are a number one priority?

    Carl Johansen
    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

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  22. Greg would ask, do you think you should answer non-specific questions such as that of 6:27 PM without clarification. It is only there to set you up.

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  23. Carl, one simple way to answer your question is like this: the Board of Selectmen's role is to set policy, establish priorities, and monitor progress. The BoS should direct the Town Administrator to carry out those policies, addressing the priorities established by the Board. It is then up to the Administrator how he directs staff and resources to carry that out. But it's that third area, monitoring progress, where the BoS tends to stumble. As time passes -- and so many other issues get tossed in the pot or need to be addressed immediately -- everyone seems to lose sight of the priorities and so some goals go unmet and unaddressed.

    We need to get serious about setting the priorities and addressing them fully in a timely manner, and following up by monitoring our progress or understanding why no progress is being made. It will actually make the Town Administrator's job clearer, if not easier, to have direct expectations and clarity about what the BoS wants to see accomplished.

    Signed, One candidate Who Takes The Time To Respond To Taxpayers . . . .

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  24. Mr. Pare. Certainly it is important to get answers from the candidates. I spoke to one of them at a meeting and asked about five or six questions. I spoke to another when I called him about a problem that I was having with town government. I got all my answers from both gentlemen. While it is good that you take the time to write answers, be assured that the other candidates will and have answered any concerns.

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  25. Mr. Pare has spent a lot of time and print discussing $200,000. Just what percent of our town’s total annual budget is $200,000? I am guessing it’s a little less than ½ of 1 percent or about the equivalent of $250 for someone making $50,000 a year (roughly $5 per week). Seems to me that there are bigger fish to fry Mr. Pare. How about discussing employee contracts and wages, steps and longevity pay? According to Mr. Hunt annual compensation grows at 5% or more per year per employee on average. What say you?

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  26. $200,000 equals 4 additional municipal staff, much needed in many tiny town departments, 4 fire fighters, 4 policemen or 4 teachers. At this stage of the our history $200,000 could mean a great deal to the town. Thank you Mr. Pare for caring about it. And thank you also for answering the questions on line. It is good of you to take your time to do so. I would imagine you will be the kind of Selectmen that gets back to people when they email you. That is commendable.

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  27. Book Keeper, our budget this year is $65.9 million so $200K is actually less than a third of one-percent (.00303). In your example, it is closer to the equivalent of $150 for someone making $50K a year (or $3 per week).

    When I was discussing the $200K, it was in the context of "Certified Free Cash" in my responses to several posters on this blog. My point was (and still is) that "certified free cash" has averaged over $1.5million each year for the past 12 or 15 years. About $200K of that comes directly from unexpended funds which we voted and had approved for Town operations. If we had spent that $200,000 each year for the past 10 or 15 years ($2million or $3million) back on town needs, say roads or other capital needs for example, we would certainly not be in the situation we are now. Imagine if we had used that $1.5million each year for capital projects or new buildings or East Sandwich Fire Station and police and fire staffing, or . . . .

    Given the tight budgets, I think $200K is important, no matter how small a percentage of our overall budget.

    As to employee contracts and wages, that is an entirely different topic. Contracted wage increases, together with steps and lanes, have far out-paced the Town's ability to fund them. I have applauded the Town employees who agreed to zero increases for two years in a row -- saving over $375K each of those years. Randy may right about the 5-percent average, but there some certain union employees whose increases have routinely exceeded even that. When you compound that effect over a number of years, it is devastating to our budgeting efforts.

    I am running for Selectman for the first time, so I cannot go back and look at the last 10 or 15 years, no matter how appealing that might be. If I am elected, I will try to make the right choices for all the people of Sandwich and will do my best to spend our Town funds fairly and wisely.

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  28. Dear Ms. Howland,
    I applaud you getting answers from candidates, maybe you could share your questions and responses from the candidates that you have received.

    However, I believe it is a sad commentary that Mr. Kennan and Mr. Pannorfi have been given an opportunity to respond to constituents in a public arena and have been, and I'm assuming here, too busy, to respond to questions and ideas on Mr. Hunt's blog. (Ironically Mr. Hunt is a full-time Representative and a very busy CPA at this time of year, yet can still bring forth his humor and opinions.)

    I for one am not going to bother candidates at home when I can ask my questions right here, as for attending a meeting where the candidates would be present, I don't travel in the same circle as the candidates, and therefore wouldn't have an opportunity to ask them questions in person. Again, that is why I was thrilled that Mr. Hunt has given the candidates this opportunity to respond to folks publicly! Kudos to Mr. Pare for answering our questions, whether you like the response or not!! Hopefully Mr. Pannorfi and Mr. Kennan will find some time before the election to get back to us.

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  29. Mr. Pare,

    When I mentioned that I asked a question of one of the candidates at a meeting, it was a meeting of the finance committee. Unless I am wrong about who you were, you were there too, in the same circle as myself and the other candidate.

    I just want to point out that answering questions on a blog that is filled with hate, is not the only way to get to potential voters, there are most certainly other ways.

    As it stands now, you are the only person to whom I will give my vote. You have run a great campaign and deserve to win.

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  30. Dear Ms. Howland,
    It was I not Mr. Pare that wrote to you. I agree Mr. Pare will get my vote as well!

    Also, I don't believe this blog is full of hate. I can think of others (town related) that are very cynical and hurtful.

    Again Good job Mr. Hunt.

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  31. How do candidates feel about having an independent State financial audit completed for the Town of Sandwich as was suggested at the January 20, 2011 BOS meeting by a Town Citizen. It is really quite shocking and saddening that no substantive maintenance and operations plans exist for our town buildings. Perhaps our Town leadership must be guided to learn that this is an imperative component of doing what taxpayers have hired them to do. If not our leadership to watch the bottom line, then, WHO? Am I wrong in this perception? Have I missed something? If our Town Manager believes we can come up with match funds for a library ($8 mil?), then I must be missing something. Not only do we not have back up plans for funding the current repair jobs, we are dreaming up a new phoo phoo building!

    Given the state has recently already had to step in for failures to manage Town of Sandwich natural resources satisfactorily (MASSDEP and MASSOIG), it seems only prudent to allow the State in to relieve taxpayers of an ever-increasing worry that failures are around the corner for overall financial management, as well. I'm afraid that, as much as we want to believe in our leaders, they may be in quite over their heads on a few integral issues for Sandwich; finance and environment. Let's get them the help they need and get that audit done with a fresh set of eyes.

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  32. In 2007 Mr. Pannorfi was adamant about relocating, a recently installed electric box on town hall, even after the BOS voted unanimously no (June BOS minutes). Mr. Pannorfi wanted this done because of the historic nature of the building, even though at that time, it was a foregone conclusion that town hall was going to be renovated. The cost to move the electric box was $33,000!
    Am I the only one that wonders if the expense was really necessary? Please we couldn't of looked at the box for another couple of years and have it moved during renovation instead of spending $33,000 right then and there. (I was unable to find out what the initial expense was to install the electric box.) This can all be verified by reviewing BOS meetings in June, July, and August of 2007. Yes this was discussed numerous times!!! As well as written about in the Enterprise, and brought to the state historical division. (The expense was so high because the wiring had to be re-rooted under the building yet the building was elevated during renovation, therefore probably would have been cheaper to relocate during renovation.)
    So why do I want to elect someone, that just because its historical and a building error can be corrected in the not so distant future, can't let it go and look at the bigger picture of things that need to be done, and how $33,000 can be used for better purposes?
    Looking Forward remembered the uproar and read the minutes and the articles. Mr. Pannorfi described the electric box as “the bastardization of a historic building”. Really? As near as I can tell Mr. Pannorfi can be very regimented in his thinking. We need visionaries and folks with a willingness to compromise going forward for our town, not stubbornness!

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  33. I am hoping at least 2 of the selectmen candidates will answer this. I am, as are many other people, tired of this cpa funding. Yes we voted to change from Land Bank funds to cpa funding.
    However, at this point in time the use of cpa funds seem to have gone way off course. I think it's time to revert back to Land Bank and get away from CPA. Not only is some of the use of cpa funding in question, but the State reimbursement has gone way down. So why are we still there?
    I, for one, was happy to vote for a Land Bank tax; and the original purpose of going over to cpa seemed like a good deal. A good deal at that time. Many of you who may recall, and to those of you who may not have been in Sandwich at that time, we looked at the Land Bank as a way to control the population and in particular keep the number of school aged children at bay. If memory serves me correctly, it ended it was one of reasons we ended up with the golf course (groan).... if my memory is not correct, someone please correct me - but I seem to remember there was buildable land associated with that purchase. Taking that land off the potential market was one selling point to the golf course purchase. Yes the school population has gone down, but for reasons other than fewer homes being built That's a whole other issue. What is your opinion on this issue? thanks
    Joan

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  34. Carl Johansen would also agree on the present funding of CPA money to projects that are needed, these projects will never go away long term. What do the candidates think about changing the tax structure to full costs on all the low income homes that get reduced by the CPA tax. It seems that the way this process is going every one gets to pay twice for benifits on behalf of the buyer, but not to those that pay the bills. How is not charging the full tax rate really the way to go long term with this type of home reduction for the low income housing market?

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  35. Good Morning ~

    Anon (Joan) -- I beleive that when we agreed to move from Land Bank to CPA (a good idea at the time when the state was matching funds at 100%), we had to commit to be in the program until 2021 or something like that. And we have to ensure that we will make good on all the commitments we have made. So, for the intermediate time, we are stuck with CPA.

    I do think we need to be more strategic about how we allocate those funds now. The state's match is getting smaller and smaller and will probably run out in the next few years. If we want to be able to purchase any large or important pieces of open space as they come available, we had better start putting the money aside and not dealing it out so freely. Also, the State legislature passed a bill allowing beach protection to be covered under the CPA program. We could use a lot of money to fend off the serious erosion issues and potential flooding we face.

    On the FinCom, I objected to the granting of $450K to a private developer for affordable housing on the Rt.130 /Forestdale village project. The original request from the developer was for $900K and the CPC arbitrarily cut that amount in half. Since they made the cut on an arbitrary basis, they could have as easily said 33% or 25% or 10%. And, this $450K is only for Phase I and it seems likely the developer will be back asking for more. It did make sense a few years ago when we funded Seashell development -- ten houses in total, five of them built as affordable housing. But I do not think we need to subsidize a developer whose plan has always called for affordable housing.

    We need to be clear about where any additional funding will be sought before we agree to support or fund anything.

    Carl, I think I might agree with you if I understand what you are proposing. As it stands now, we are using tax payer dollars to fund affordable housing which then will be forever rated at a lower value for tax purposes -- seems like a double whammy to me.

    Vote tomorrow!

    Glenn

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  36. I strongly disagree with the concept of taxing affordable homes at the rate of the home were it not affordable. If we do so, we are being unfair to those who bought them with the affordable tag being on the property in perpetuity. They are stuck with the lower price. To allow them to sell at 100% value is also unfair. Leave it the way it is. By the way, affordable housing is not low income. The low income tag is one that the writer does not understand.

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  37. Thanks for your response, Glen. I am voting today; I always do. I watch most fin comm, bos and sc meeting on tv so I am aware of your stance on some of the cpa spending - I had decided long ago that you would get my vote. Actually you'll be getting 3 votes from my household. Thanks for your good work.
    joan

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  38. In the discussions of providing a financial lift for the developer at Forestdale Village, I see it as an opportunity to also be discussing how this same developer will address his erosion control issues located on Pimlico Pond Road. His new home construction has left much to be desired as mud flows down from East? Road onto Pimlico Pond Road. The haybales set in place are cheap and ineffective and actually quite funny. What has been the cost to the water quality at little Pimlico Pond for this sedimentation issue? Why aren't the correct standards being applied to this developer? Does anyone care?

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  39. Baffled and ConfusedMay 5, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Although I believe that Forestdale Village in the long run, if done correctly, will be an asset to the community, some of "jobs" numbers give me pause.

    I believe and correct me if I'm wrong that Mr. Bailey said there would be approx. 400 new jobs, especially during construction. However if you speak with Mr. Powers and ask about getting work during development you're told he has "his own team" in place. So what are the 400 new jobs? Because if I'm understanding this correctly, if you have your own team that means people are already employeed, so where are the new jobs? Also what companies will be doing the construction if they are local companies? Again it asks the question what new jobs? If the companies have already been selected and they already have the employees there won't be any new jobs created.

    Am I missing something?

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  40. Yes, there will 400 new jobs to clean up Peter's Pond once the sedimentation destroys it! The developer needs to be adhering to environmental regulations, pure and simple. So far, not so good. The Town of Sandwich needs to figure out that the health of natural resources are vital to it's citizens. We should support this project but make this developer clean up his first mess at Pimlico Pond prior to proceeding. At least there will be a few more agencies watchdogging this project with our recent pitiful environmental track record in Town. That's a waste of taxpayers money, but, unfortunately necessary to protect resources.

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