Press Release: MAYORAL CANDIDATE MELISSA MAZZEO Solutions for to Road and Sidewalk Repair Funding
For Immediate Release: October 12, 2019
Pittsfield, MA — In a statement released today, Mayoral candidate Melissa Mazzeo informs voters of her road and sidewalk repair funding plan.
“Road and sidewalk repairs are necessary but they are also expensive. However, we shouldn’t backburner those repairs because of expense...we should use all means necessary to make our roads drivable and sidewalks walkable. Residents are frustrated with the conditions and so am I. There is a revenue stream we can create ”
According to Mazzeo, “It has been an age old problem and I’ve kept asking myself, how can we increase our road and sidewalk repairs without increasing the budget?” Mazzeo’s answer to this question is in a petition currently sitting on the Mayor’s desk. In January of this year Mazzeo, along with fellow Councilor Chris Connell, put forth a petition that fifty percent of the tax on marijuana sales be allocated solely to road and sidewalk repair.”
The allocation just to road and sidewalk repairs would provide additional revenue streams guaranteed to be used only for the repair of crumbling infrastructure. Based on one quarter of revenue in FY19 and as marijuana sales are projected to grow, approximately $200,000 could be directed yearly into Mazzeo’s streets and sidewalks fund idea.
“I understand that the Mayor would prefer this revenue go into the General Fund to be used for projects that her administration may feel are needed, but in my mind, we need better streets and sidewalks now. By depositing half of the marijuana tax revenue directly into a pool meant just for road and walk repairs we will be guaranteeing that each and every year we have a larger budget to fix our roads and walks. Increasing the budget year after year and placing that burden on our residents does not work. The fifty percent marijuana sales tax designation is a fiscally responsible measure to solve the problem.”
Mazzeo visited her theme of accountability and fiscal responsibility at a recent gathering, “Elected officials are accountable to the residents. Part of that role is to both get things done without creating massive tax and water/sewer bill hikes. By using new revenue coming into the city, we can be both accountable to you and fiscally responsible.”
Allocating marijuana sales tax to go to infrastructure upkeep is used in other communities as well. Lowelle allocates 25% of the tax specifically to municipal building maintenance and repair. While other towns, such as Northampton, plan on distributing money from the tax across all sectors of city needs including schools, buildings and roadways. Mazzeo believes that in Pittsfield the streets need help; therefore, it is logical for the money to be allocated there.
“It is my hope that the mayor will sign my petition. However, if she does not, rest assured that when I am in office I will put it through. As Mayor I will welcome all ideas, no matter who they come from, to improve our city.”