Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts as part of the upcoming Select Board election in Thomaston.
For those that may not know me, I have lived in Town for most of my years on the planet. I had the benefit of being guided by many individuals, who, in my judgement, had their priorities in order… one of whom we said “good bye” to this morning… Ben Harding. My participation in Town Government is, in the end, simply following the example provided by many others, and the realization that volunteer efforts are required to keep our community going.
It’s easy to believe that nothing changes in a small village with architecture dating back centuries; it still looks pretty much the same as 60 years ago, but in many ways, it is not. As noted frequently, the population is aging, it takes at least two incomes for most families to get by, there are serious health and housing problems, and the climate is changing. The Town’s economic success 170 years ago was a result of conditions in the outside world, and many of our challenges today are, as well.
On the expense side, our challenge is to be able to provide quality needed services while maintaining the benefits of a small community, and controlling costs, not unlike every other community. I believe that there are many advantages in having our own departments and also that management of services can be more closely tailored to need than with a larger organization. Having said that, a cooperative, regional approach with other communities and the County is a necessity for efficiency, costs, and level of service.
On the income side of the ledger, we need to find ways to support both community and economic growth. We are fortunate to be home to a major industrial facility, and past administrations made retail development on the east end possible which is a major part of the tax base. An ongoing effort is required to provide resources and assistance to attract and welcome new business ventures.
Notwithstanding the previous two paragraphs, the various issues cannot be looked at from a strictly accounting ledger standpoint. As was noted by a member of the Community and Economic Development Committee yesterday, “we have to make our Town a place where people will want to live.”
This same idea has been brought forward in recent conversations about the comprehensive plan. The ideas and priorities that are being updated in the comprehensive plan will form a basis for decision making going forward; the result can be community promotion, pursuit of resources, and planning and investment in the community that will benefit all.
Thanks again for your invitation,