"Maybe it really hasn't sunk in yet, and won't until I'm sworn in," said Ward 3 Councilor- elect Nicholas Caccamo. "I know it will be a lot of work. I will be the point-person for a lot of people."
Judging from phone calls and conversations with Ward 3 residents since his election on Nov. 5, Caccamo believes "housekeeping" issues will be a main focus in his ward. Those include what to do about vacant buildings, sidewalks or road problems, and personal resident issues in dealing with city government, he said.
"I know I'm going to have to set aside the time to get back to people," Caccamo said, adding that responding quickly to concerns will be a priority with him.
While he has attended many government meetings in recent years and come to know many officials, Caccamo acknowledges, "I also have to learn about the whole process" of government. "There is a lot to know."
Of his goals, Caccamo said he wants to work on extension of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail bike path into the city from Lanesborough and other bike-related improvements for city streets, and he would like to see a reasonable compromise that allows food trucks in Pittsfield.
"But I think just doing the work that needs to be done is most important for a ward councilor," Caccamo said.
"I am really excited," said Lisa Tully, the newly elected Ward 1 councilor, who added, "I am already getting a taste of it - and learning a lot."
Tully said that judging from conversations she's had since winning election, "Ward 1 is a very busy ward. I think that's great. I said, 'OK, I like busy.' " The ward has much retail activity and many residential sections, she said, and her early conversations have focused on a range of issues, from new development plans to long-standing problems residents have.
"I also sent an email to the councilors and got some great responses," Tully said. "I think I'm going to work well with all of them. That's one of my biggest goals. And to be there for the people."
To show her commitment to keeping up with ward issues, Tully said she and her husband will go door-to-door beginning in January, as she did while campaigning for the office.
While pledging to work with other councilors, Tully added, " We don't always have to agree." She said the council has an impressive range of personalities and members with experience and talent. "That's a good thing," she said.
One specific issue Tully will focus on is the proposed removal of a section of railroad track crossing Dalton Avenue that has been targeted for removal and drawn complaints from residents who must drive over it. "I will work really hard to do that," she said.
Kathleen Amuso, who won an at large council seat after serving for 10 years on the School Committee, said, " It feels really good, after you've worked mostly in one department and now can have new challenges while still working for the city."
The City Council "is a completely different role, obviously," Amuso said. It's also an opportunity to "move the city forward" in different ways, she said, and to "continue learning about [government] and serve the city of Pittsfield."
Amuso said her goals include helping to foster a positive climate for business. "We have to be business-friendly," she said. "We have to do more recruiting of businesses and keep the ones we have here. And to continue to market the [William Stanley Business Park] and other sites."
A principal focus has to be on increasing the city's tax base, Amuso said.
To accomplish that and other tasks, "We have to do this by working together, the council and mayor and city officials," she said.
Amuso has confidence in the newly elected School Committee members, the incumbents and Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless, who came to the school system in July. Despite challenges, like a high percentage of students from low-income families, "We will have a good committee," she said, "and I am very pleased we have Dr. McCandless."
Over the past decade, "we've worked hard and had some successes," Amuso said, including bringing a major renovation or replacement project for Taconic High School to the initial design phase. As a mayoral appointee, she will continue to serve on the city's School Building Needs Commission while on the council.
City councilors, Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, School Committee members and City Clerk Linda Tyer will be sworn in in council chambers at City Hall on Jan. 6, beginning at 10 a.m.
To reach Jim Therrien: firstname.lastname@example.org, or (413) 496-6247 On Twitter: @BE_therrien