SELECTMEN RACE Q&A: Fasulo & Eaton Discuss What They Want To Accomplish In Year #1, How They’ll Be Responsive To Residents

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 accomplishments each candidate hopes to achieve in the first year on the board, plus how they will be responsive to residents. Below are the candidates’ responses, in their own words:

Rob Fasulo

Rob Fasulo

What are 3 accomplishments you wish to achieve during your first year in office?

First, I would like the town to purchase the land at 333 Andover St. This is the town’s last remaining large parcel of land and it should become a jewel for our kids and grand kids to enjoy. Having the town purchase this land will also take it off the proverbial playing field and remove it from the constant threat of large scale developments that come up every few years. I have called for this since I announced my candidacy and I have spent hours seeking resident support. Second, within months of being elected, I will work to enact an inclusionary bylaw through citizen petition if need be. At this point it will not solve our problem with 40B but at least in 2019 with a bylaw in place we won’t move further away from our goal of 10%. Had this been in place when the town was advised to enact one (2001 and again in 2004) we would not be facing the possibility of a hostile 40B project after 2020. Third, I would like to move to vote again on using the St. Dorothy’s land for affordable senior housing. Talking to the seniors in town, I am hearing they clearly want this project to move forward, at this location. I have also proposed as part of the land deal with the developer that the first floor (or a portion of) the facility be permanently deeded to the town for use as a senior center.

How will you be responsive to residents as a Selectman?

My platform since announcing my candidacy, has always been “Of the People, For the People, By the People” and I truly mean it. During the summer, I will be on the Swain Green almost every Sunday morning if residents would like to come talk with me. I also attend most community events throughout the year and people are free to approach me at one of those events. I am active on social media at my Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/RobFasuloforSelectman ), and my phone is always on. Private messages come right to my phone and I can answer when its safe for me to do so. Finally, a phone call will always be welcome. I will be available to all residents in Wilmington because I’m well aware that as a Selectman, I am representing the people.

Jonathan Eaton Board of Selectmen

 

Jonathan Eaton

What are 3 accomplishments you wish to achieve during your first year in office?

Affordable & Senior Housing

Our affordable housing inventory is currently projected to be about 60 units below the 10% threshold by the 2020 census.  If we are below 10% at that point, the town would be susceptible to a 40B development.  40B developments do not have to abide by local zoning ordinances, meaning they can build whatever they want, wherever they want to.

People were upset at the possibility of a gas station behind Mr. Ticket.  Imagine the reaction of residents if a 40B development were built there.  People already are starting to feel like Wilmington is losing its suburban feel; like we are becoming more and more like a city.  Textron has between 50 and 60 employees left on their campus.  Imagine what a big national developer like an Avalon could do to that property if it is made available for sale.

We need to prioritize affordable and senior housing, and we need to do it now.  We have town-owned land that we could sell for the purpose of generating affordable and senior housing, a need that the residents have been clear in demanding, while at the same time increasing our affordable housing inventory to reduce the chances that 40B developments are coming to town.

Economic Development Committee

The topic of an economic development committee has recently begun to gain traction on the current board of selectmen.  Our economy is strong, yet many commercial properties are vacant or underutilized.  We need to prioritize getting the types of businesses that we want in town, and forming an economic development committee should be an integral part of organizing those efforts.  Economic development committees enable residents to be more proactive in the planning of their town, and I believe that the primary role of municipal government is to efficiently pursue the goals of the community.

Consolidation of IT Departments

We currently have two IT departments: one specific to the school department, and one for the remainder of the town.  Each IT department purchases hardware and software independent of each other.  We currently do not have an opening for the position of technology coordinator for the school department.  With a new school superintendent about to onboard, now is the perfect time to consolidate the town and school IT departments to permit a centralized IT office to best leverage the town’s buying power to effectuate cost savings through the economies of scale.  We can, and should, be pursuing all avenues to reduce spending and be more efficient with our tax dollars.

How will you be responsive to residents as a Selectman?

Being responsive requires being as accessible to residents as possible.  Members of the board of selectmen should be involved in many community activities to increase their interactions with residents.

Further, methods of communicating have changed in recent years, and elected officials should evolve with changes in technology to make themselves more available to the community.  It’s not enough to just be available by phone. Elected officials should be available by email and through social media, to better serve their constituents.

Lastly, there about 23,000 residents in town.  Not all decisions are unanimous. As a member of the board of selectmen, I will be available and respectful to all residents, as I have been since well before this campaign, to best ensure that I am effectively advocating on behalf our community.

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