Mayor Alcombright understands what it takes to manage and promote our city and provide the services that people expect. He is deeply concerned about our cost of living, economic development and keeping North Adams an affordable place to live. He is dedicated to enriching our schools and developing the teaching infrastructure we need to better educate children.
The mayor is very proactive about resolving crime, blight and poverty in our city and has the fortitude and courage to acknowledge the problems that drug and alcohol abuse have on this issue, locally and nationwide.
His challenger, Bob Moulton, has made many negative and untrue statements about our mayor and city. It is true that the mayor has allowed for salary increases to certain city personnel as departments are streamlined and workloads are increased on individuals. However, Bob should remember from his years on the council that these raises pale in comparison to those given out during the previous administration. During those years from 2000 to 2009, the administrative officer went from $45,500 to $71,000; the MIS director went from $41,400 to $71,010; the commissioner of public safety went from $41,400 to $70,132; fire director went from $44,217 to $61,295; police director went from $44,217 to $63,016 and finally the mayor's salary went from $57,000 to $84,470, where it remains today, four years later.
Bob should also know that his allegations of property taxes being worse now than ever before are simply not true. From FY 2005 to 2010, while Bob was a councilor, the tax levy in the city increased from $7.8 million to $ 11.6 million or 67 percent - an average increase of 6.09 percent annually. Under Mayor Alcombright, from FY2011 to 2014, the tax levy in the city increased from $11.6 million to $14.2 million or 22.9 percent — an average increase of 5.75 percent annually.
And Bob should also remember that while those taxes were being increased annually prior to Mayor Alcombright taking office, the FY2005 to 2010 years had the luxury of state aid being increased $698,000 per year on average. From FY2011 to FY 2014, Mayor Alcombright has had to deal with an average reduction in state aid of $336,000 annually.
Bob also seems to be unaware that North Adams taxes are less than our neighboring communities and others outside of our area. The average singl-family home value in North Adams is $135,328 which results in a combined water/sewer and property tax bill of $2,667. Meanwhile, in Adams the same home pays $2,791 per year (with no sewer fee); Clarksburg pays $2,800 a year (without full-time fire department); Pittsfield pays $3,331 per year; Gardner pays $ 4,113 annually and Greenfield pays $4,439 per year.
Regarding unemployment, Bob would have you believe the situation is getting worse when the truth is that the North Adams unemployment rate has gone from 10.2 percent in 2010 to 8.1 percent today, a drop of 2.1 percent. Around the region and state, current unemployment in Adams stands at 8.8 percent; Gardner is at 9.9 percent; Fitchburg 10 percent; Holyoke 11.7 percent; New Bedford 13.1 percent; and Lawrence at 14.9 percent unemployment.
A quick Google search of the words "North Adams Crime rate" will take you to the same large list of websites that Bob probably got his crime information from. What he fails to tell us, however, is that these websites show our city has reported above the national and state average consistently, for over 10 years.
At the McCann debate, Bob criticized Mayor Alcombright for not "extorting" money, through a "linkage" account, from the new Super Walmart. Bob also made another anti-business statement by criticizing the mayor for last year's, ever so slight, reduction in our commercial tax rate that still remains the highest in the state.
I've seen a lot of change in our city having served as a city councilor the past 24 years. And the last four years have been the most positive for North Adams.
Mayor Alcombright is the right man for the job. He has given the city council full transparency to the budget process. He has listened and implemented ideas of citizens and has given the respect that is deserved to our hard working city employees. Mayor Alcombright is an honest man who will keep North Adams an affordable, attractive and safe place to live. He has earned my vote and I encourage you to vote for Mayor Alcombright.
Nov. 4, 2013
Bloom is the current president of the North Adams City Council.
On Jan. 27, 2011, Cariddi Auto Agency's building burned to a total loss. The building was not salvageable. Mayor Alcombright came to the scene of the fire and sought me out to console me as a business owner watching my 29 years of work, go up in smoke. The North Adams Fire Department did a wonderful job, along with many of the local town fire departments, bringing the fire under control with their efforts on that cold night, we were in good hands! My hats off to the North Adams Fire Department and all of the fire fighters that provided mutual aid!
Mayor Alcombright was a serious inspiration to the ongoing existence of my business! I told him if we were going to survive this fire, we were going to have to find a temporary location to set up shop. He assured me that he would do all he could to help with that process and advised, when I find a temporary location, to let him know in the form of a letter. Well with the help of other business friends and family we relocated on Jan. 28 a little further down Curran Highway. We created the letter and delivered it to Mayor Alcombright on that same morning. With a lot of friends, valued customers and family we emptied the burnt-out building and set up shop down the street on Jan. 29. It was a fast move!
At the time, Cariddi Auto and Tunnel City Transport employed about 12 full-time and five part-time employees. Without the extensive support of Mayor Alcombright and his staff granting permission allowing the emergency move, all of these people would have been out of work and it may have been the demise of our 29 year old company!
So to summarize the facts:
"It's All Dicks Fault!!"
1) Cariddi Auto/Tunnel City Transport – Reopened 48 hours after a devastating fire.
2) Not one employee lost a day's pay or got laid off.
3) Cariddi Auto/Tunnel City Transport – built a new state of the art building.
4) Cariddi Auto/Tunnel City Transport is steadily growing and has since then doubled its work force in the city.
5) We have two new business neighbors down the street.
6) The new Wal-Mart is newly opened up the street.
7) Crane is still here with a larger work force.
8) Main Street merchants have been moving around and expanding.
9) Our city is a pleasant place to live – with reasonable cost of living expenses.
10) We're getting a city landmark school restored to its once grandeur, where many of my family and close friends graduated from high school and many of our local citizens can tell you about the fun high school day stories. I know: I went there as a middle school student in 1977 – 1978 as the first graduating middle school class. My mother was a teacher and I received my diploma from my mom in that gym. A savored memory! My dad graduated high school there. Hopefully, my grandchildren will also go there!
11) I know that 24/7, I can walk down any street in North Adams and feel safe. Try that in other local communities; I have been on these streets many nights plowing and towing and I have been in other cities when I was scared to death, to say the least. My hats off to the local North Adams Police Department.
12) REMEMBER ON ELECTION DAY: It's all Dick's fault! Let's allow him to continue his ability to make North Adams a better place. Out future is RIGHT with Alcombright!
Editor's Note: This candidate letter was received from Ryan Biros.
ADAMS, Mass. — It is a privilege to announce my candidacy for Adams town moderator.
I have lived in Adams my entire life and decided several years ago to help keep our town moving forward. Growing up in Adams has taught me a few things; everyone knows who you are or knows a family member, people will always stand firm for what they believe in and most importantly, the extreme interest in the citizens of Adams to be part of the community. Some citizens are involved in our town government, some are involved in community organizations or both.
I am involved with both. Currently I am a member of town meeting for Precinct 2, the Historical Commission, Redevelopment Authority and serve as town webmaster. As member of town meeting, I understand the importance of healthy and productive debate. Serving on both the Historical Commission and Redevelopment Authority has taught me the value of preservation and progress.
I became town webmaster four years ago after noticing that the town website was in need of an overhaul. I worked with the Board of Selectmen and the town administrator to change it. One year later, the town re-launched the website, which is now user-friendly, bills can be paid online, serves as 24-hour bulletin board with up-to-date information.
I volunteer as an adult leader in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing units in Adams. In these roles I have helped the youth of Adams to reach their full potential and become leaders. I also am a member of the PNA, the Adams Historical Society and a former member of the Maple Grove Civic Club.
Town moderator is an important position. The town moderator is the presiding officer of town meeting and is responsible for keeping order, summarizing warrant articles for debate, calling for votes and moderating discussion. Aside from town meeting, the moderator appoints members to the Finance Committee. If elected I will maintain the integrity of the meeting, be fair and firm to all members and remain unbiased in selecting candidates for appointment to the finance committee. Our town has been and is continuing to work hard to move forward.
I am proud of the work I have done and will continue to do for the town of Adams. I am asking for your support on Monday, May 7, to become Adams town moderator. Thank you.
Ed MacDonald is running for state representative, and I am expressing my support. I have had the opportunity to work with Ed for almost a year now, and we continue to work on the interests of the region, town, community and my department today.
As a Chief of Police, part of my responsibility is to seek additional sources of funding to support the operation and function of my department. Through Ed MacDonald’s knowledge of the legislative process, his contacts and the relationships he has established over the years, I was provided advice on whom to ask with my questions. This opened the doors to resources and grant opportunities that I can directly attribute to Ed’s professional networking. To me, this was proof that Ed already has a great working relationship with the other members of the Legislature.
One of the characteristics Ed possesses is an honest, thoughtful approach to addressing an issue or problem. Liking to meet a challenge head on, I have found Ed to do his research and give a sound opinion. I have observed Ed follow his beliefs, make some hard choices and still remain on track to the larger purpose without losing sight along the way.
It has been a pleasure working with Ed MacDonald. I believe that with Ed’s dedication and commitment, he will be an excellent state representative, and therefore I fully endorse his candidacy.
I am writing to express my support for Ed MacDonald, who is running for the position of state representative from the First Berkshire District. Mr. MacDonald is currently the town administrator in the community of Chester, and as the agent for the Board of Health, I have had the pleasure of working with Ed on many occasions. I have always found him to be professional, friendly and knowledgeable.
In the town of Chester, Ed works for the people. He makes it a point to get to know the residents as individuals. He always looks toward the best interests of the town and works to make those interests become reality. His background in urban planning has proven to be an asset to the town, giving him the knowledge to find ways to create jobs, to help the taxpayers put their money to work in the best, most efficient way, and to get things done correctly.
While Ed will certainly be missed as town administrator, his election to the position of state representative of the 1st Berkshire District will show you what you've been missing in a representative. He will for you and your community – because it's his community too.
Chester The writer is health agent for the Town of Chester.
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The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015
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