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On Excellence in Education

Top schools are a hallmark of Sudbury.  Our investment in excellent schools not only benefits our students, but also keeps home values high. We must spend appropriately in the classrom on students of all abilities.  Our school committees still face a challenge balancing appropriate educational spending for our classrooms and administration.  Fostering coordination across Sudbury Public Schools, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, and Lincoln Public Schools would benefit student curriculum and better utilize town resources. 


On Managing Expenses and Balancing them with Residential/Commercial Tax Revenues

Expenses don't just arise out of nowhere, and our tax dollars shouldn't just get grabbed by the loudest constituency in the room.  Our Town's budget reporting recently received awards, but we can and must continue to improve our forecasting and planning, and make investment recommendations and decisions that consider the totality of anticipated town expenses, distinguish wants from needs, and explore a creative range of solutions to satisfy cross-departmental needs.

The Board of Selectmen, Town Manager, and Committees are working hard on better Capital Planning.  Let's implement a process that plans, executes, and measures against an Expenditures Roadmap - Capital Expenses (CAPEX) for aging assets at end-of-life, and Operating Expenses (OPEX) as a function of demographic changes.

To meet those expenses, let's actively target ways to bring in revenue from a more diversified tax base by identifying low impact commercial enterprises that would be an appropriate fit in our community. 


On Fairbanks: Meeting the Needs of Seniors, Parks & Rec, School Administration space

The Fairbank building is aging, and the multiple departments that it currently houses have needs which must be addressed.  The Town has spoken:  A new $30M facility was voted down.

It's time to start thinking outside the box and get creative.  Let's prioritize the Senior Center, and then move onto the Sudbury Public Schools and Parks and Recreation.  In addition to providing an inviting, safe space for programs and offices, we need to proactively avoid interruptions to core services while we implement this plan.


On Public Safety and Quality of Life

Let's understand the needs our Fire Chief, Police Chief, and DPW identify to provide the service levels we depend on to keep us all safe.  These include staff, equipment, and projects to repair, replace, or reconfigure facilities and roads.

Let's spend appropriately so that our Police and Fire can support excellent response times and service levels.  Fire Chief Whalen has identified a need to station a Third Ambulance on Rt. 20; let's accomodate that need without overspending. 

While we're at it, let's make their jobs easier and  our quality of life better by having safe roads, sidewalks, lanes, and trails to travel on by vehicle, foot, or bike.  Let's explore ways to ease traffic congestion and improve safety that in some cases might just involve signage and a bucket of paint!


On Rail Trails

A wonderful amenity for the community, rail trails enable people to get around safely, enjoy the outdoors, and exercise. The (North-South) Bruce Freeman Rail Trail project has involved the town collaborating to do it right. The state’s planned (East-West) Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) needs to be designed in an environmentally-sensitive way via a partnership between DCR and host community Sudbury, without the avoidable impact and loss of canopy from high voltage transmission lines above it or below it on the MBTA corridor.


On the Sudbury-Hudson Transmission Line

The Eversource high voltage transmission line, as proposed, would intrude on our open spaces, neighborhoods, and possibly contaminate our water supply. If the transmission lines are deemed necessary, which to date, they have not been, then options which avoid the permanent, negative environmental impacts to our community must be preferred. The Town must continue its firm stand to ensure that Eversource doesn’t run roughshod over Sudbury as it has in many communities.


On Diversifying our Tax Base

I believe it is important to provide residents incentives to stay in town after their children have been educated. A diverse population of citizens, young and old, is achievable if we provide services at tax levels that make it enticing to remain.  Attracting a low impact commercial tax base benefits us all.


On Boston Post Road

Increasing the commercial tax base is key to the long term health of Sudbury. Let’s create a plan to keep shopping local. Route 20 is ugly and not pedestrian friendly. Beautification and re-configuration, planned over time, could help transform Boston Post Road into a vibrant business district where people will spend time and money.


Sewataro

I’m for preserving open space, doing everything we can within our means to prevent the overdevelopment and urbanization of Sudbury. 
The combination of Excellent Schools, Beautiful Open Space, and Historic Character is what makes Sudbury special. If we lose those features, we become just another suburb, our values drop, and we’re left underwater with high taxes. 

The 8 week summer camp the Taylors have operated for decades is according to them a profitable, low impact business. Low impact means not creating significant traffic, and not adding more students to educate.  Profitable means generating income capable of covering its operating costs and then some. 

I understand the land is now out to bid. 

The Town must seriously consider the negative consequences if this land goes to a residential housing developer. 
It is zoned for residential (27 single family homes, I think) so likely buyers would not be empty-nesters, but families with children (expensive to educate). 

I would like to see the Town submit a proposal which the Taylors may accept that would allow the current 8 week camp use of the land to continue. 
I believe we should explore structuring a town-friendly deal whereby acquisition costs and annual operating costs are covered by Camp Sewataro revenues. 

While the Town likely cannot outbid developers, a fair offer anticipating a ‘hometown discount’ may be favorably received by the Taylor family, who have indicated their desire to see the land and the camp preserved. 

None of this can happen unless the Town comes together (Planning, Zoning, Parks&Rec, Finance, etc. —- and residents). 

As we have seen with Broadacres, where there is a will there’s a way. (on part of seller and buyer). What’s unique and most intriguing to me about Sewataro scenario is that the camp is a time tested, turnkey, profitable Enterprise. 
Unlike some other Enterprises in Town, this feels less speculative in terms of its ability to pay for itself. 

I say let’s come together, and if the Taylors can meet us where we need to be, I believe we can build Townwide support. 

Does that make sense? Let’s have a dialogue.



Committee to Elect Bill Schineller
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