While each board member comes to the table with the hope of making Enfield a better place, it is difficult to form opinions and act on issues that effect our community without doing a great deal of listening, learning and research about each item that impacts us.
It will always be my goal to provide information to the Public and conduct open government to the greatest extent possible, in order to respect and engage our community in the democratic process.
After living in Enfield for four decades, and serving on the Enfield Town Board for 5 years, there are several issues that I think are the most pressing to lift Enfield and begin improving our quality of life here.
Our town is a unique place to live. I know everyone says that about their town. However, we have a lot of challenges, and with those challenges come untold opportunities to improve our lives here. Connecting as a community to strengthen our relationships and access to resources we are entitled to is imperative to making life sustainable here- no matter who you are or how much money you make. When we’re stronger as a community, we’re more resilient to the challenges that are thrown our way each day. When we have access to services and opportunities, we can thrive together and grow as a town, so our children find reasons to stay here or we can choose to age in place comfortably.
I am a strong advocate and committed representative when it comes to making our needs known and getting to work finding solutions for us. This is who I am and I will continue to work daily to meet our goals.
As a board, we have to be sensitive to the financial burden property taxes place on us. It’s important for the Town Board and residents of Enfield understand that we are functioning with just about as little resources as we possibly can. There is basically no fat to cut.
In my view, it’s imperative that we become proactive about compatible economic development in our community, in order to build a stronger tax base that relies less on individual taxpayers and spreads the cost of services around more equitably. It’s also important to advocate for towns to utilize some of the revenue streams that other municipalities can, that we’re limited from accessing due to archaic New York laws. We can be better at making connections at all levels of government, so we can fight for our share of funding for the many needs our community has.
In order to be pro-active in governing, I’ve begun facilitating the Town Board process of assessing what we have, what we need, and what we want, in order to make Enfield an amazing place to live for everyone, as well as how we’ll fund it. I’ve worked closely with Enfield Highway Superintendent, Buddy Rollins, to bring better service to residents and to understand the challenges of our Highway Department. Through our new Capital Plan, we’ve created a ten-year plan to replace equipment and maintain roads at a responsible pace. A plan to build the Highway Fund balance was implemented with the 2020 budget to raise the fund to an appropriate level, so we’re on solid footing to follow through with the Capital Plan.
I worked to find better solutions to health care obligations to our retirees, which saves over $12,000 per year. My commitment to working with the Enfield Volunteer Fire Department to help them comply with new State laws has enabled us to be more accountable to each other, as well as building community with them to help sustain Fire Department operations long into the future. I’ve worked closely with board members to re-assess many of our expenses and to eliminate redundant or non-essential expenditures. In 2019, Enfield conducted the first outside audit in more than ten years. This was a priority for me, as the Chief Financial Officer of the Town, to make sure our protocols are effective and appropriate, and if they aren’t, how can we make them so.
In 2018, I wrote three grants totaling nearly $400,000 for facility and renewable energy projects for Enfield. We were granted all three, which will enable us to build a Salt Storage building for our salt and sand supplies which will protect nearby waterways and our aquifer, updates to the Community Building, and installation of a solar array to offset energy costs of municipal buildings.
The Town of Enfield provides several services to its residents. Primarily, The Enfield Highway Department, fire protection, and Administrative services, such as Town Clerk and Justice Court. Enfield has also made a commitment to support youth and senior activities in order to build community and provide needed services and opportunities.
We have worked diligently in the last year to improve Enfield Highway Department equipment inventory. It has been many years since a commitment has been made to consistently provide funding for quality machinery in good condition for the important tasks they complete for our community. I trust the assessment of the Highway Dept. inventory provided by the Highway Superintendent and have strived to develop a replacement schedule that will insure the important work they are charged with for our safety is not interrupted by constant machine failure as it has been in recent years.
We need to undertake a serious assessment of our buildings to understand the high cost of managing these aging structures. I will encourage the Board to be proactive in this assessment and to follow up on any determination we arrive at with regard to how to provide safe, cost effective, and energy efficient facilities that utilize our tax dollars more responsibly.
It is my expectation, as I’m sure it is the expectation of all residents, that all departments, as well as organizations with which we contract with for services, will comply with all laws and regulations that apply to them.
As a long-standing member of Enfield Neighbors for Safe Air and Water (ENSAW), it is important to me that our community is informed and proactive regarding environmental issues that affect our safety and the preservation of our local natural resources and environment.
While I’ve served on the Enfield Town Board, I’ve sought many resources on this issue, from resident concerns, environmental experts, New York State officials and consultants, County Planning representatives, and many more, and I’ve come to the conclusion that renewable energy development is rapidly inundating our lives and our communities, and that no one has solid answers about anything yet. I’ve encouraged our Town Board through the process of developing a Solar Law and updating our Wind Law, as well as finding ways to secure the financial incentives we deserve when large projects impact our life in Enfield. In Fall of 2019, the Town Board adopted both laws.
It’s important to me that our residents are appropriately informed and feel free to request information that helps them understand what’s happening in our town. It’s also up to residents to keep informed, stay involved, and share their needs and opinions via Privilege of the Floor or correspondence with board members and the Town Clerk. If you would like to receive updates regarding your town, visit townofenfield.org and share your email address to receive information. We will continue to look for more ways to keep Enfield residents informed.
As the Enfield Comprehensive Plan update comes to completion in coming months, I look forward to working with our community to implement the many great initiatives set forth in the Plan. Much resident input has provided us with an ambitious path forward for a better Enfield. We will need focused, efficient, and committed leadership and interested residents to meet the goals and actions set forth in the Plan. I look forward to realizing the vision set forth by our community in the Comprehensive Plan.