GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 10, 2013

Letter: Selectman seeks to continue steps forward


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

This is an open letter to my fellow Essex residents: I write to ask for your vote.

As the incumbent in Essex’s selectman’s race, it is my hope that I may continue to serve the town and help advance the goals of our board. Chief among these goals is to preserve those aspects of Essex that make it a unique and special place, and to remedy those conditions where improvement is essential.

I have served on the Board of Selectman for three years and, for the past four years, chaired the Town Building Committee and sat on the Long Term Planning Committee. In addition, I serve on the steering committee of a five-town effort to prepare a Resource Management Plan for the Great Marsh Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and have participated in numerous municipal seminars and workshops related to our area, our environment, and local government.

These experiences have afforded me a comprehensive view of the challenges we face, as well as insight into the ways I can guide decision making as we move our town forward.

While the issues surrounding Conomo Point are clearly a primary concern for our board, they do not exist in isolation, nor is it the only issue that demands attention. The selectmen have put forward a comprehensive and carefully crafted incremental approach that addresses the DEP mandate at Conomo Point — balancing our fiscal responsibilities and the concerns of many residents who want more public access at the Point.

At the same time, we must stay focused on our town infrastructure and services. Our two town buildings, the town hall/library and the public safety building, both have a host of issues that require attention and action. As a structural engineer, my professional training and experience allows me to lend my expertise to these matters as we continue to make slow and steady progress toward remedies for our deteriorating infrastructure.

My commitment to environmental and open space concerns, particularly as they relate to our town, is also very strong. Continued vigilance to preserve and protect open space and the rural feel of our town are essential.

Finally, the ever-present concerns of rising taxes and constrained budgets need careful scrutiny as we balance our capital needs and necessary infrastructure improvements with the revenues gained from sales and the new market-rate lease incomes at Conomo Point.

It is my hope that, by working closely with the Finance Committee, the selectmen can find ways to establish a capital budget program, improve our capital assets, and preserve most, if not all, of the sale proceeds. With compromise and caution, we can keep the best interests of the town moving forward, while striving to minimize the impact to our taxpayers—slow and steady progress.

Please cast your vote for me this Monday, May 13, so that I can continue to serve the town with optimism and enthusiasm.

LISA O’DONNELL

Member, candidate for re-election

Essex Board of Selectmen