Letter: Puddester would bring experience, compassion

Puddester would bring experience, compassion

To the editor:

Two new members of the Williamstown Planning Board will be elected on May 10, one for a two-year term and the other for a five-year term. As a community board made up of residents, it is important to have a diverse group of board members representing the diversity of our community. Susan Puddester will bring that.

Susan has worked with Higher Ground since Tropical Storm Irene destroyed the Spruces Mobile Home Park. She worked directly with the residents, helping them to find housing, get through the complicated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) process, meet the day-to-day challenges and connect them to appropriate services.

Not only did she work directly with park residents, she served on the executive committee of the board of directors in various positions and now serves as president.

Susan has worked closely with Williamstown officials as well as other community and faith-based organizations. With years of experience in geriatric social work, as well as work in the community, she has learned to work thoughtfully and collaboratively to reach a desired goal.

I know from speaking to her that the things that are important to her would make her a great addition to the board. She will be working on ways that seniors can stay in their homes as they age. She supports finding ways to bring housing to town that would be affordable for young families wanting to come to Williamstown.

This recommendation has been put forth by the Economic Development Committee and supported by the Board of Selectmen. The Planning Board began working on this in the fall of 2015 but that work has been waylaid by a Planning Board reaching beyond its jurisdiction to making decisions about marketing and business planning.

To keep our schools as outstanding as they are now, we taxpayers need to provide the financial support. We also need to build a new fire station and a new police station. As a member of the Finance Committee for many years, I know how important it is to increase our tax base. To do that, we must encourage and support current businesses to expand, as well as support and welcome new businesses. Susan will work to this end.

Unfortunately, the current board thinks that businesses should put some of their land into conservation to secure their support. Putting land in conservation reduces the tax base.

Please join me in supporting Susan Puddester by voting for her election to the Williamstown Planning Board on May 10.

K. Elaine Neely, Williamstown


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