My leading principle across all city issues and priorities is to put residents' interests first. Residents deserve the best city services possible, and sound budget priorities, where fiscal responsibility and progress on critical challenges and long-standing issues can take place simultaneously.
Municipal Asset Management: Consistent maintenance and necessary improvements of municipal buildings, roads and sidewalks will be cost-effective over the long-term
Resident Access to Information: Municipal communications need to be more centralized for residents to have easy access to the city information they need, including social media communication.
Waste Management: Residents deserve more frequent recycling pick-ups and a cost-effective waste management plan. Simple measures, such as placing trash receptacles downtown and along Main Street to reduce litter will have a big impact. Weekly composting is also something that needs to be looked at as an option.
Public Safety: Woburn paid over $50,000 for a consultant to conclude that our fire stations were crumbling and understaffed in 2013. In 2015 a new fire station was stated to be in its beginning stages. However, it was not until November of 2018 that a fire station committee was formed. Our firefighters should not have to fight for minimum staffing to keep us safe. Nor should they be forced to live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
Schools: The 2019-2020 school year budget faced a 2.1 million dollar shortfall. Though we hear repeatedly how "healthy" our rainy day fund is, under half of the amount needed to cover the shortfall was provided. The effects of that will be felt in many ways. Though it is true that no full-time teachers were laid-off, the positions of the multiple teachers that retired were not filled. A loss is a loss. Class sizes for the 2019/2020 are going up to as high as 26/28 children in a class depending on the grade as a result. Needed positions are going unfilled. From teachers, to specialists, and beyond. For an example, the high school requested another custodian. Rather than getting more help with an added custodian, they are actually losing one this year instead. This is not just due to unforeseen out of city expenditures. This is not simply a misjudgment of budget expenses by the school committee. This is years of our schools being underfunded. This is years of our school committee stating what they minimally need (4%) and not receiving it. This is years of our school programs and resources lacking and not properly providing for our children. This is not just a SPED issue. This is the "snowball" effect of a budget that is too small being spread too thin. We have teachers and parents on social media trying to raise money to get working water fountains installed at schools and grass put down on the dirt fields our kids play on at recess. Our children deserve better.