Keith Bona seeks 10th term on North Adams City Council
NORTH ADAMS — With 18 years of experience on the City Council, Keith Bona feels he still has more to offer.
Bona served four terms, took eight years off, and has now served five consecutive terms leading up to this election, in which he and 15 other candidates are seeking one of nine at large City Council seats.
His experience, he says, is important, considering that all the incumbent city councilors have served two terms or fewer and there is no incumbent seeking the mayor's job Nov. 7.
"If it wasn't for such a new council and a new administration, I probably would have set aside. But I do feel there should be a mix of some experience and some new," Bona said. "There is something to be said for having some knowledge about what the City Council voted on five, 10, or even 20 years ago."
Bona, a native of the city, said one of his major priorities is again pushing for ways to provide tax incentives to city residents who undertake home improvements.
The councilor raised the proposal in 2016, but the effort fizzled out because North Adams did not meet the requirements of the state's Housing Development Incentive Program, which requires a population of 35,000.
Bona hopes to ask for the state's permission to use the incentives despite the city not fitting the requirements of the program.
"Unfortunately, it just hasn't moved forward, and I'm hoping maybe, with the new administration, it might become more of a priority," Bona said.
Bona also questions what the city is doing, financially, to address the opioid epidemic.
"We rely on things like the [Northern Berkshire] Community Coalition, but should the city itself be putting more up financially to either assist those that are helping or a program we are doing in-house?" Bona asked.
The city also has to address the needs of its aging public safety facility, which is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"The building does not fit today's needs," Bona said.
He said the city needs to set aside money for such infrastructure projects.
As a business owner on Main Street, Bona said he frequently engages with residents, but he is also active on social media.
"You can't hide; they know where you are, so half my day is usually talking to people about city issues," Bona said.
Adam Shanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter or at 413-496-6376.
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