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Mayor Linda Tyer was joined by her husband and supporters to announce the re-election campaign on Thursday.

Tyer Announces Re-election Bid

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Neighborhoods, economic prosperity, and designing our future.
 
Those are the three pillars that Mayor Linda Tyer said has been a foundation of her first term as mayor. And she now wants to "do more of what works" as she announced her bid for re-election Thursday at Framework.
 
"Over the next eight months, as the campaign unfolds, I will talk more about where we go from here. But I will tell you one thing, we are going to do more of what works. The city of Pittsfield, the collective us, with government by its side, is on the move and we've got proof of that, strong home sales, $52 million in new growth in one year, tangible things that didn't exist the year before that exist today. People are investing in our city," Tyer said.
 
"I'm an optimistic champion of our city. I am devoted to the people of our city. I believe in their aspirations for themselves and their families. It would be my great pleasure to continue serving as Pittsfield's mayor."
 
Tyer was first elected in 2015 to become the city's first four-year mayor, defeating incumbent Daniel Bianchi. She took office in 2016 and on Thursday highlighted the successes of her administration since then. 
 
"I have long believed that government must be a community partner, not this far-off force to be reckoned with. So what's good for Pittsfielders? A powerful organization, strong, resilient neighborhoods all across our city, and building our economic future," Tyer said.
 
She touted a move that kept Covanta operating. Shortly after taking office, the waste-to-energy facility was on the verge of closing. The Hubbard Avenue facility is where the city's trash haulers send waste for incineration. Tyer estimates that it would have cost the city an additional $462,000 to haul the trash elsewhere and there would have been 25 jobs lost.
 
Tyer proposed and City Council approved a grant to Covanta of $562,000 to help with capital repairs, which kept the operation running.
 
She also highlighted the Transformative Development Initiative, which had begun slightly before she took office but continued throughout and which focuses on rebuilding the Morningside neighborhood.
 
"We're focused on this neighborhood. We created the Tyler Street storefront improvement project and we are now in the design stages of Tyler Street streetscape," Tyer said. "We know what happens when streetscapes are successful and are completed. We have North Street as proof."
 
She touted securing some $17 million in state and federal grants for various projects, resurfacing 41 miles of roadway, and providing business incentives that created 113 new jobs in the city.
 
"Our ongoing response to criminal activity in our city includes a $1 million investment in our municipal budget for more police officers and the implementation of ShotSpotter, the state-of-the-art gunshot detection technology," Tyer said of one of her primary pillars in her first election.
 
Despite that investment, crime numbers haven't dramatically shifted and Tyer said efforts to control crime will continue to be a priority. She said addressing crime isn't just using police officers but working to address underlying causes.
 
"Crime is a challenge and it is complicated. I understand this is something that worries people, it worries me, too. But we are working at it," Tyer said, later adding, "as long as we have people who make this choice to be a part of the criminal life, we are going to be confronted by it."
 
Economically, Tyer highlighter the efforts to create the "Red Carpet Team" and the position of business development manager, which is currently filled by Michael Coakley. The so-called Red Carpet Team is a collection of economic development professionals who meet with prospective businesses to discuss various incentives and make pitches as to why the company should move or expand here.
 
The business development manager is a position funded between the city, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, and the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. to serve as "the quarterback" of economic development initiatives. 
 
She also highlighted getting the Berkshire Innovation Center under construction. The project had been years in the planning but stalled because of a funding gap. The city offered $1 million in 2016 to help close that gap and the state picked up the rest.
 
"The foundation is laid, the beams are up, construction is underway," Tyer said.
 
But the big highlight economically for Tyer is Wayfair. The online retailer is planning to open a service center at the Clocktower Building.
 
"They will be bringing 300 new jobs to our city," Tyer said.
 
For neighborhoods, Tyer highlighted redevelopment projects such as St. Mary's and Powerhouse Lofts, both of which are headed by CT Management to create market-rate housing. 
 
"We're creating new jobs. The commercial properties on North Street are selling. Our commercial properties on the outer areas are selling. People are making investments, it cannot be denied," Tyer said.
 
The city also enrolled in the municipal aggregation program to group purchase electricity. Tyer said some 16,000 households and businesses are part of that and collectively saved $565,000. 
 
"We lowered taxes. The tax bill for the average single-family homeowner in the city of Pittsfield went down. That hasn't happened until 1993. Along with that lower tax bill, the tax rate went down for residential and commercial taxpayers. That hasn't happened in 11 years," Tyer said.
 
She added that the city secured $150,000 for winter sheltering and will be switching out 5,300 streetlights to LED.
 
"Our streets will be brighter and it will cost us less money," Tyer said.
 
Next, she is eying the creation of an "At Home In Pittsfield" program to help make renovations to deteriorating homes more financially feasible.
 
Tyer took office after serving as the city clerk and had previously served as the Ward 3 city councilor. 
 
"Four years ago a group of friends had a vision for Pittsfield. The group grew. It became exciting and fun. In November, in a landslide, Linda Tyer became our mayor. She is Pittsfield's four-year year mayor. The vision is continuing. We are not done yet," said Campaign Manager Tom Sakshaug.
 
Tyer becomes the first candidate in the mayoral race. 

Tags: campaign event,   election 2019,   mayor,   pittsfield elections,   


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Hinsdale Man To Compete In Professional BBQ Competition

Community Submission

Rinaldi with Myron Mixon, celebrity chef and four-time barbecue World Champion.
HINSDALE, Mass. — Professional barbecue teams from all over New England will compete at the Harpoon BBQ Festival in Windsor, Vt., on July 27-28, with hopes of being crowned the grand champion and earning a ticket to the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue. 
 
And Berkshire County's own George Rinaldi will be among them.
 
Rinaldi, 54, of Hinsdale, has been competing on the professional Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned circuit for eight years. He and his family travel to six or seven competitions annually. They've been all over New England, as well as in New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas. At a typical event, competitors must deliver their entries in four categories (chicken, ribs, pork and brisket) to the master judges by pre-specified times — and not a second later.
 
Rinaldi's skills have earned many trophies, including a first-place prize for his Ribs Division win at a recent competition in New Jersey. 
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