Basic City Services
Residents are fed up with undrivable roads and poorly-maintained infrastructure. Our public services are defined by a culture of “doing things the way they have always been done.” Now is the time to challenge the status quo and ask more for our residents. We can take a wholesale look at our processes and priorities and figure out how to provide these services to our City in a more efficient and effective manner. The City needs to listen to its residents to see what is working, and what is not working. Our infrastructure demands change over time, but our approach to address them has not.
Our police officers and other public safety officials deserve the full support of our City. Like many communities, Pittsfield is facing an opioid crisis and the resulting uptick in crime. Working together as a community, we have an opportunity to make significant headway in dealing with this epidemic. We also cannot ignore the gang activity, nor can we ignore the vulnerability of Pittsfield as a pass-through community for criminal activity. We must make decisions about our law enforcement resources based on fact and actual data points, informed by best practices, to make a real impact on our overall neighborhood safety.
As we face a difficult fiscal future, we need to find new ways to generate more revenue. Growing businesses and creating high-paying jobs will make a huge impact for our city. I was proud to assist in the development of the Berkshire Innovation Center, but dismayed to find the process plagued by delays and resulting funding gaps to the tune of $3 million. I spent over two years advocating creative solutions with the current administration to close this gap, and I’m proud that the state and the City Council have found a way to support this project.
As your Mayor, there will be no higher priority for me than ensuring that your tax dollars are spent wisely for the betterment of this community, and not wasted on inefficient government. This isn’t about cutting services; it’s about doing better with what we have right now. Pittsfield deserves a Mayor who will hold contractors accountable for completing projects in a timely and satisfactory manner, and who will ensure that GE economic development monies are used for their intended and appropriate purpose.
We are largely at the mercy of our partners at the state level with regards to our transportation needs, but we have to be smarter about what we have the ability to control. We need to make sure that Eastern Massachusetts recognizes the difference between Holyoke and the Berkshires, and that we have unique transportation needs. As Mayor, I would seek a regional approach to lobby the legislature for the funding we need. Locally, we should again look to the data: Have we ever done a citywide traffic study? Are we spending our dollars appropriately for road infrastructure and maintenance? Are our roads designed to support our economic development as a City? We need a thoughtful approach to tackling our transportation challenges.
Environment & Open Space
Nestled in the heart of the Berkshires, Pittsfield is home to beautiful parks and open spaces that enrich our vibrant community. As a CPA community, we now have access to a new revenue stream to expand these offerings, but we must also ensure that we can maintain the existing parks. We face challenges with vandalism, misuse, and bathroom facilities, combined with a limitation of manpower to keep up with these issues. As Mayor, I will work to establish public/private partnerships with “Friends of” the park groups to leverage the incredible work they do to support our open spaces and utilize city resources to have the greatest impact on these open spaces, informed by the people who give of their time and talent on the ground. We must also ensure that each space is being utilized to its best ability, and programming each space appropriately to further enrich our culture.
Across every neighborhood in our City, we must look to every single stakeholder to do their part, and ensure that every dollar is spent wisely addressing real needs. We need creative solutions to invest in our community, and things that are very tangible to make an impact. Can programs like Habitat for Humanity utilize HUD money to help low-income existing housing? Can we get on the ground into every neighborhood and ask five households to commit to an investment in their own outdoors area or property? Could we establish a public/private partnership and incentivize companies like Carr Hardware or Home Depot to donate materials for the betterment of Pittsfield? As Mayor, I would also propose a citywide day of service, using the City as a conduit to connect willing volunteers with organizations in need of things like painting or park clean-up. We must continue to urge investors to keep buying property and stay engaged as we move ahead in our revitalization efforts.