2023 SELECT BOARD RACE: DeFeo, West & DePalma Explain What They Hope To Accomplish

WILMINGTON, MA — Select Board candidates Jim DeFeo, Frank West and Gary DePalma (incumbent) were recently asked the following question by Wilmington AppleIf you are elected, what are at least 3 noteworthy things that you hope to accomplish during your 3 years on the board? How would you accomplish these things?

Below are their responses, in their own words:

Frank West

Frank West

As far as what I consider noteworthy items that I hope to accomplish in the next three years, I believe making sure to the best of my ability to ensure the current building projects are completed on time and with the least impact to the taxpayer both in taxes and inconvenience. This includes the new Senior Center, Town Hall and upcoming Wildwood School. I would also like to form a Re-Use Committee to see what the vacated buildings can be used for before we just knock them down.

I would also like to finally see a Fire Sub-station be built in North Wilmington. This has been an on-going discussion for too many years and my plan would involve keeping this on the forefront to get this up and running and properly staffed.

I also want the Select Board to work with our town departments to take a more pro-active approach on keeping our 40-B numbers above 10%. I was instrumental in persuading the Select Board to create and support an inclusionary by-law that requires multi-family developments of 8 units or more to have 15% of the units as restricted affordable by state guidelines. I will ask how we an expand our regulations to insure we are always above the 10% threshold and not looking for a particular development to be approved to meet this goal.

I look forward for the residents of Wilmington and hope the residents will support my election to the Select Board. I can be reached at 978-658-1754 or westrewilm@aol.com for any questions.

Gary DePalma

Gary DePalma

During my first term on the Select Board we needed to weather the storm of Covid and, at the same time, work to ensure that the town continued to provide full service to its residents. The Select Board needed to ensure the safe working condition of all our town employees and safety of our residents. This became my number 1 priority, Thanks to ALL town personnel we made it through.

I fought for a emergency stop light at the Public Safety Building, which will be installed this year. I supported a new Senior Center that was approved at the Town meeting, as well as securing more space at the Wildwood Cemetery. Keeping control of the budget will be a major obstacle with all the town building projects being proposed. We are preparing for the building of a new school to replace the Wildwood. We need to guarantee the children and the families of Wilmington an appropriate school environment for education.

Yes I’ve been tough on the Town Manager. I’m not afraid to voice my opinion on issues when I see something wrong or feel that it’s not right for the town. When a project works for the residents and town, my voice is just as strong.

I will continue working with the residents of the Nichols St. area to fight against a developer attempting to taking advantage of the town’s affordable housing short fall (40B), by putting apartments in a single family residential area of town. By applying to the State Housing Authority, the developer is attempting to circumvent the towns by-laws and zoning regulation.

I am asking for your vote for the Select Board.

Jim DeFeo

Jim DeFeo

The town has been working with a multitude of state and federal environmental agencies to remediate the old Olin Chemical Site. Moving this project forward is critical, to returning this 50 + acre site to a usable asset either public or private.

I will ensure that the Senior Center and Town Hall / School Administration Building capital improvement projects are on schedule and on budget. If changes to these projects are needed, these changes will be done in consideration of operational need and with fiscal responsibility.

I will forcefully advocate for the completion of the North Wilmington Fire Sub Station and hiring the personnel that will be needed to properly staff the facility.

I will push to increase the Wilmington Police Department Budget to better staff, equip and train the police force so they are able to proactively implement Community Policing Based Services.

I will propose that the Veterans Services Office be relocated to the “Old” Senior Center facility and a study be done to add additional complimentary community services to that building.

I will push to finalize the study on taking jurisdiction of the “Unaccepted Roads” located throughout the town. This would mitigate liability for the town and help residents with government refinancing opportunities and enhance new home sales.

I will support a policy that balances the property tax liabilities between commercial, multi-unit residential, investment residential and owner-occupied residential properties.

I will propose that all future capital expenditures be examined to reduce the environmental impact to the community. Also, if any option is found to be financially responsible and operationally reasonable greater weight should be given to that option when making a final decision.     

About The Questions

During this local election season, Wilmington Apple will ask two questions of all the Select Board candidates each week.  Responses are in the candidates’ own words, unedited.  Each candidate is given the same question and the same amount of time (approximately one week) to answer.  Order of answers will alternate.

About The Election

Three candidates — Gary DePalma (incumbent), Jim Defeo and Frank West — will be competing for two 3-year seats on the Wilmington Select Board. Incumbent Judy O’Connell is not seeking re-election. The Town Election will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Polls will be open from 8am to 8pm.

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