Bianchi Sets Meeting to Unveil 'Plan For Pittsfied'
"Throughout this campaign, I have been overwhelmed by the number of suggestions and concerns that voters have about issues in Pittsfield. I have done my best to incorporate their feedback — and my vision for Pittsfield — into a comprehensive plan for Pittsfield. Many voters have heard pieces of my plan throughout the course of this campaign, but it has always been my goal to share the specific action items of this plan with the voters of Pittsfield," Bianchi said.
"Because of the enormous interest in the special election for state rep, municipal candidates have had limited public opportunity to debate the real issues facing Pittsfield. Over the next three weeks, I will share my 'Plan for Pittsfield' as I to continue knock on doors and generate public interest on the differences between myself and my opponent.
"As we celebrate our 250th anniversary of Pittsfield, it is a time to reflect and plan for the future. My plan addresses taxes, city services, education, economic development and job creation, expansion of open government, and public safety."
Bianchi said, "This meeting will give everyone an opportunity to learn about my specific action plan to move Pittsfield forward. And, there will be an opportunity for the public to ask me questions."
Following Wednesday's town hall meeting, Bianchi will put his "Plan for Pittsfield" on his website at votebianchi.com.
Alcombright Highlights New Economic Projects
"In my previous communication, I outlined many of the positive economic things that have happened since I took office in January 2010. There are many things that have happened and many great things that are in our immediate and near future," said Alcombright.
"We will have a Super Walmart announcement within the next couple of weeks. Walmart has filed plans with our Building Department and there currently is activity at the site. This multimillion dollar development will provide much needed growth to our tax base and will bring up to 90 new full and part-time jobs. This project could also be the catalyst for further development of the parcel just further to the south as well as a remarketing effort of the existing Walmart. The projected increases in traffic through the Main and Marshall Street intersection could provide additional traffic within our downtown and to businesses along the State Street corridor.
"Scarafoni Associates and the Brien Center will embark on a private/public partnership that will provide approximately $1.5 million in renovations to the Transcript building on American Legion Drive. This effort assures that the Brien Center will remain in North Adams and that the 60-plus jobs they provide will remain, as well as the exceptional services they provide. And while the Brien Center is a not-for-profit entity, through the efforts of this administration and this partnership, the City is assured that real estate taxes exceeding $250,000 will be paid over the next 10 years.
"I am very excited about the continued progress of our solar initiatives. As we continue to plow through the negotiation and contract process, I, along with several from my administration, have been working diligently to bring a massive four-site solar project to the city. This includes solar arrays at the former landfill, the airport, the former sewer treatment plant in the west end, and the roof at Drury High School. The scope of this project is such that when completed, it has the potential to save the city up to $350,000 annually on electricity costs. This project is overwhelmingly attractive because it comes with no cost to the city.
"Another major project is the renovation of the former Haddad Ford building on Route 2 that will become the new home for Carr Hardware. This renovation will allow Carr to move and grow their operations, product line and will add eight to 12 new jobs. This expansion will also benefit our tax base.
"We are very close to a forward thinking, self-sustaining Mohawk Theater solution. I have been collaborating with MCLA and Mass MoCA for more than 10 months on a project that will provide an academic as well as a community theater solution. Combine this and all of the above with the $50 million MCLA Center for Science and Innovation project that has just broken ground, $3.5 million in improvements that have begun at the Greylock Valley Apartments, and the potential for school renovations and this city could have upwards of $100 million in construction projects beginning or happening in the city over the next 12 months.
"All of these projects will contribute to the growth of jobs, the growth of our tax base, will encourage people to locate here, buy homes here and educate their children here. I am excited to be a part of this growth and I will continue to look forward and not back."
Council Candidate Bullett Sets Meet & Greet
Bullett, who is running for council for the first time, invites the public to come speak with her.
The afternoon will include hamburgers, hot dogs and chili, volleyball, horseshoes and dancing. Tickets are $10 or $8 for seniors and children.
Reserve tickets by calling 663-7862 or pay at the door.
Alcombright Outlines Platform: 'Together We Move Forward'
"With the election approximately five weeks away, I want to make certain my positions are very clear to the public including the positions I have taken on growth, schools, taxes and other opportunities. Through a succession of press releases over the next several weeks, I hope to show you that my positions and my decisions have been consistent with what was discussed two years ago. Most importantly, I want the voters of this city to see that the work that I have done, was done without political bias, political gain or political pressure. I truly want people to know that I have done what I have said I would do, manage this city, bring our finances under control, open up city government and create transparency, utilize the talents of many and begin the processes necessary to facilitate growth.”
Alcombright continued, "One thing that I spoke of two years ago was growth. The only way to stabilize our tax rate and to succeed as a community is through growth. The only way to begin projects, build schools, remediate neglected infrastructure is through growth. My campaign slogan this year is 'Together We Move Forward.' We cannot move forward by looking backward with only a handful of people making decisions. And while I have made some very difficult decisions, I have not made them in a vacuum. I indicated at one point that we are in an economic cycle whereby right now, it is difficult to spend and when you cannot spend, you must plan.
"Since January 2010, I have filled boards and commissions with close to 50 appointments tapping the energy, ideas and creativity of our greatest asset, the people who live here. Many of our boards were not fully appointed and many did not meet on a regular basis. Our boards and commissions are more active than ever and doing some great work. These are good people who are taking the time to make this city a better place. Unlike my opponent who wishes to have less involvement from the community, I want to reach out even more and invite greater collaboration.
"In this severe national economic crisis that has loomed for several years, I am very proud to have been part of what I consider significant successes in North Adams over the past two years. While many communities have lost ground, we have many great stories to tell. Growth at Excelsior Printing, Cariddi Auto, Shima, Shear Madness, Creations, The Transcript offices and I Got Goodies. We have seen four new restaurants - Rub, Desperados, Public and the Sushi House. My administration worked with private investment to be certain the Brien Center remained in the city at the former Transcript building, guaranteeing some $250,000 in tax revenue over the next 10 years. Walmart has installed a sewer system, our Juvenile Court is staying in the city, United Cerebral Palsy has established a new location on Union Street, Carr Hardware is engaged in a significant expansion, the Dollar Tree Store opened and we have secured $3.5 million in grants through the North Adams Housing Authority for much needed improvements in our public housing and we have completed significant roadwork. All of these accomplishments have retained jobs and brought new jobs while preserving our tax base. Again, all of this in the middle of a recession, with no money, just people moving this community forward.
"There are many other significant growth opportunities in the works and I will share those things in my next release. While some think that 'back' is the way to go, I will move this city forward through my continued efforts in working with a host of agencies, professionals, our neighboring communities and the public. We cannot survive alone and must look to the greater region to grow. I will not look back. I will continue to keep my vision clear and I will work with all who want to move this community forward."
Mayoral Candidate Boucher Shares Views On School Buildings
"I strongly endorse the neighborhood school concept currently employed in our community. As a parent and grandparent myself, there is a certain level of comfort you feel when sending your child off to school in your own neighborhood. That feeling needs to continue. I do not believe the city is currently in the financial position to fund a new school, or schools, as proposed by the School Committee, chaired by the mayor. Chances are good that the [state School Building Authority] will not pass the two school option and I believe a Debt Exclusion vote would face a similar fate as the Proposition 2.5 override," Boucher said.
"Instead the city should invest money to temporarily fix the current Greylock and Sullivan buildings, to keep our children in neighborhood schools. My plan for the future would be, once the Drury and Brayton debts are paid, to replace one school, and only then if we can absorb the cost in our budget, so a Debt Exclusion vote would not be needed. Finally I would like to add that it is not the building, but rather the teachers and curriculum that make up an excellent school system."
You can learn more about Ron Boucher, his campaign and views by visiting his website at www.VoteBoucher2011.com. Inquiries can be mailed to VoteBoucher2011@yahoo.com.