My name is Lisa Tully and I want to be your next city councilor for Ward 1. I have been walking door to door for months and have either spoken with you or left my card at your door. I am writing this column to provide you with the reasons why I seek this office.
Ward 1 priority: A ward councilor is about public service, not politics. The residents and businesses in Ward 1 should be the top priority of the ward councilor. There is too much political gamesmanship that has alienated our ward from the administration and half of the City Council. You cannot effectively represent Ward 1 if you are divisive. We need a change. I will put Ward 1 public service above politics.
Visibility and accessibility: As a ward councilor, you will see me on your street. You will be able to contact me by phone, email and my website. I will hold regular monthly meetings for residents to gather and discuss issues. Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi successfully hosts monthly meetings. Since we share common borders, I plan to reach out to Councilor Morandi in Ward 2 to host joint meetings from time to time. I will promptly return calls and continue to knock on your door and not just during election time.
Property taxes: In 10 years, my property taxes have almost doubled. I feel this pain in my wallet. While taxes are necessary for good government, I am aware that 40 percent of Ward 1 voters are over the age of 60 and most are on a fixed income. Our city budget has to reflect our own budgets. I will study both the school and city budgets to look for cost savings. Property tax increases should not be an annual event.
Promote Industry at PEDA and support small business: I want to see our city become a place where our children and grandchildren can call home after graduating. My husband commutes four hours a day to Framingham several times a week. My son moved to Florida and my daughter lives in the Albany area. I am certain you, too, have witnessed the exodus over the past 20 years. I want to see our children obtain higher wage jobs than retail offers. We need to support our local manufacturers and continue efforts to market the PEDA property to industry, not retail.
Smart residential development: We need to broaden our property tax base as a means to keep our taxes down. Pittsfield has many beautiful areas that can be developed for residential housing. The Walden Avenue neighborhood is a great example of a lovely development that blends in well with the area. While I support more neighborhoods like Walden, we must not harm existing neighborhoods. The "Yarmouth Heights" development proposal will harm the existing neighborhood because the Yarmouth/Broadway area cannot support this traffic. In addition, the development hasn't considered all the wetlands in the area and how the water displacement will affect the existing residents.
Safety Issues: While walking around our neighborhoods, many residents expressed concerns over the increasing crime and drug activity they see on their streets. I am a strong supporter of the neighborhood watch program. As your councilor, I will organize the neighborhoods and invite Pittsfield Police's safety officer to educate us on these programs. I want to start the first neighborhood watch program in Ward 1.
Pittsfield public school system: The Pittsfield school system has many excellent teachers, who educate our children extremely well. We need to keep our promise to our children that if they are willing to be educated, we will always provide them with excellent teachers. Because of parents sending their children out of the district, we lose over $3 million annually in state funding. We need to reverse this trend. I support a new combined vocational and academic campus at Taconic High School. A state-of-the-art vocational school would attract students from other communities, reversing state funding loss. I will attend school PTO meetings to stay abreast of their needs.
I want to work for you in Ward 1. Please vote for me on Nov. 5.
Lisa Tully is a candidate for city councilor from Ward 1.