While campaigning throughout the Town of Braintree the subject of infrastructure needs continues to be one of the main topics that concern many of our residents. More specifically, the concern is how will we find the ability to fund these needs without overburdening our tax payers.
After Proposition 2 ½ was enacted in 1980, the first of the funding casualties was maintenance funding for our municipal buildings and roads. The lack of vision created a void in the maintenance that was compounded by the continued cuts to operations to prevent layoffs of teachers and public safety employees. This type of approach was understandable at the outset of the aftermath of the new limitations of how much Massachusetts cities and towns could generate revenue through the local property tax levy. However, enough time has passed since 1980 that our municipal leaders should by now have a better sense of how to balance the essential services and maintenance of our municipal assets.
Although the town’s bond rating is in good standing we need to get creative in finding alternative funding sources as to not impact the Town’s tax rate. Critical to improving the town’s infrastructure is to ensure that the Town develops a comprehensive maintenance plan to address both the current and future maintenance needs so as to not repeat the mistakes of the past.
East Middle School is the first major school building project since the high school was built in 1972 and all our schools are showing their age.
Other municipal buildings in disrepair:
South Middle School (1956)
Fire Headquarters (1931)
Water Treatment Plant (1935)
DPW Facility (1938).
For the past 16 years Braintree has grappled with securing funding and agreement with our Tri-Town Water community partners, Holbrook and Randolph. Over this time the cost of building a water treatment plant has increased significantly. With each passing year the price of financing and the building of a new water treatment plant will continue to increase and that cost will ultimately be passed on to the Braintree Water Rate payers. As Braintree’s next Mayor I will bring proven experience in planning, financing and building a municipal water treatment plant. As Assistant DPW Director for the Town of East Bridgewater, I constructed two water treatment plants. As the DPW Director for the Town of Marshfield I’ve built one water treatment plant. Building a new Water Treatment Plant for Braintree is a priority and essential to the future of our Town.
As a BELD Commissioner, I consistently emphasized the importance of keeping the electric generation and energy delivery infrastructure maintained at a high level in order to ensure the utmost reliability and to stretch the life expectancy of our capital investments. As a Selectman I initiated the town’s first 5-year roads program. As the liaison for the Board of Selectmen I worked with the Town Engineer’s office, Water & Sewer and the Highway department to prioritize which roads would be addressed in order of priority and scope of need. Each Spring the working group would re-assess the priorities in order to assess any new developing conditions and to incorporate new streets on the list as the repaired streets were checked off the list. Other areas of infrastructure I assisted in administering upgrades for was the expansion of the Plain St Cemetery.