SELECTMEN RACE Q&A: Eaton & Fasulo Discuss Fire Substation, New Town Hall & Hypothetical $2 Million Windfall

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking Selectman candidates Rob Fasulo and Jonathan Eaton questions each week leading up to the April 28 Town Election.

This week’s questions focus on town infrastructure and town finances.  Below are the candidates’ responses, in their own words:

Jonathan Eaton Board of Selectmen

Jonathan Eaton

If Wilmington suddenly received a windfall of $2 million, how should the town use that money? Why?

If Wilmington suddenly received a windfall of $2 million, it should be allocated towards future infrastructure improvements so as to reduce the impact that these projects will have on taxpayers.  These include a North Wilmington Fire Substation, a new senior center, and a combined Town Hall and School Administration building.  Because of the expenses associated with these projects, we will have to be careful in balancing the timing and financing of these improvements.

Do you support the construction of a new fire substation in North Wilmington over the next 5 years?  Why or why not?

Yes.  Between 2012 and 2017, the number of runs that our fire department made increased by 10.6%, from 3,672 to 4,062.  The number of ambulance calls during that same period increased 33.6%, from 1,887 to 2,521.  Our fire department’s workload is steadily increasing, while their staffing levels have remained the same.

North Wilmington has seen a lot of development over the past few decades, both residential and commercial.  The commuter rail has at times stopped at the North Wilmington station on Middlesex Avenue, which could prevent emergency vehicles from traveling from the Public Safety Building.

We have been talking about a new substation for years, and the need has only continued to grow.  This is an issue that will save lives.

Do you support the construction of a Town Hall/School Business Administration on the Town Common over the next 5-10 years? Why or why not?

Yes, I support the construction of a new combined Town Hall and School Administration building over the next 5-10 years, but I want to know the cost, the impact on taxes, and traffic.

To be clear, there is no current proposal to put any buildings on the Common.  The current draft of the facilities master plan suggests building a new combined Town Hall and School Administration building at the site of the Buzzell School, on Swain Green, next to St. Dorothy’s, or keeping it at the current location but adding an annex.  My preference of those options would be to have a combined Town Hall and School Administration building at the current site of the Buzzell School, while preserving the open space of Swain Green so as to minimize any disruption to our Fun on the Fourth Celebration and farmer market.  In this scenario, the current site of the Town Hall could be utilized for a new senior center, with the walking trails around the field, and the proposed new pickleball courts.

As it should be, this is not an issue to be decided by the Board of Selectmen, but rather, by the residents, at a future town meeting.

Rob Fasulo

Rob Fasulo

If Wilmington suddenly received a windfall of $2 million, how should the town use that money? Why?

$2 million would be a great chunk of money to use toward the North Wilmington fire substation without having the need to ask voters to fund the project.

Do you support the construction of a new fire substation in North Wilmington over the next 5 years?  Why or why not?

Yes, I do support the construction of a new fire substation in North Wilmington. The need for a substation has been known since the 90’s. Fire/EMS is the most important service the town can provide to its residents. I come from a public safety background and minutes/seconds count when our Fire/EMS are trying to respond to a call. I want to know that we are doing everything possible should there be an emergency on the North side of town.

Do you support the construction of a Town Hall/School Business Administration on the Town Common over the next 5-10 years? Why or why not?

I would not support the construction of any new Town Hall/ School Administration building for the foreseeable future. The tax payers were asked very recently to raise their taxes to fund the debt exclusion for the new High School. In the near future, I am confident the tax payers will be asked to fund the building of what I believe is a necessary North Wilmington Public Safety substation. As I stated at Candidates Night, we need to prioritize what is constructed in town as residents are very concerned about their property tax bills as they rise.

NOTE TO CANDIDATES & CAMPAIGNS: Got announcements, press releases, letters to the editor, etc.?  Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.

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