Photo: Andy Rojas.
Beginning today and on every Wednesday leading up the Town Election on Tuesday, April 7, the Belmontonian will be asking a “Question of the Week” to the candidates running for a seat on the Board of Selectmen: incumbent Andy Rojas and Glenn Road resident Jim Williams.
This weekly feature will allow the candidates seeking a three-year term on the board to answer topical questions concerning Belmont and help demonstrate their ability to lead the town.
This week’s question: Why are you running for selectman?
The position of the answers will alternate each week with Rojas having the top spot this week.
I am running for re-election as Belmont Selectman to build on my first term achievements — significant results based on an in-depth understanding of the job, experienced leadership and excellent community-Selectman communications.
Belmont is truly a wonderful town but, in common with other towns, it faces many challenges ranging from the effects of increased use of town and school services, to the need for thoughtful residential and commercial development that preserves our green space. These challenges require experienced leadership, in-depth knowledge and skills in many areas — not merely a focus on one or two issues. I bring the right qualifications to the table.
My wife, Allison Miele Rojas and I have lived in Belmont for over 20 years. This is where we raised our two children both of whom are graduates of Belmont High School. Our son, Samuel, is a senior at St. Michael’s College. Our daughter, Lucy, is a sophomore at the University of Hartford. Smudge, our pug, rounds out the family.
Allison and I own Rojas Design, Inc., an architectural firm. I am a professional landscape architect with significant, sustainable building and site design experience. Allison is an experienced interior architect who is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional.
I have a Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University, studied Real Estate Development & Management at the Harvard Business School, received a Bachelor of Media Arts (Honorary) from the Massachusetts Communication College, and have a Bachelor of Science from the City College of New York School of Architecture.
My extensive knowledge of the issues that Belmont faces comes not just from living here for many years but from actual service to the town. This service includes, but is not limited to:
• Board of Selectmen — 2012 – present, Chair, April, 2014 – present;
• Warrant Committee — 2014 – present;
• Community Preservation Committee — 2012 – present;
• Planning Board — 2006 -2012, Vice Chair — 2010 – 2012;
• Capital Projects Overview Committee — 2007 – 2009;
• Capital Endowment Committee — 2012 – present;
• Benton Branch Library Re-Use Committee — 2007 – 2010;
• Police Station Feasibility Committee — 2007 – 2008;
• Harvard Lawn Fire Station Re-Use Committee — Chair – 2006 – 2007;
• Shade Tree Committee — 2005 – 2012;
• Town Meeting Member — 2007 – present; and,
• Coach for Belmont Youth Basketball and Baseball teams.
Allison and I have made it a practice to use our professional expertise to help the town. We’ve donated professional design services to the Butler School Playground, the Belmont High School Language Lab as well as the Winn Brook School Basketball Courts. I introduced the Grove Street Playground Master Plan concept and advocated for the study that is currently underway.
I have the experience, proven leadership, demonstrated commitment and knowledge of Belmont needed to meet the challenges we face. I respectfully ask for your vote for Selectman on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Thank you.
Dear fellow Belmontonians, did you know that Belmont’s Management states in the current Annual Report that our town does not have the reserves necessary to “meet its ongoing short and long term obligations to its citizens or its creditors”?
Did you know that we will need to come up with nearly an additional $400 million over the next 13 years to meet these obligations unless we change our financial strategies?
Did you know that the current $4.5 million override proposal is inadequate to meet the current scheduled unfunded pension assessments beyond 2019 and that another even larger override will be needed to cover the remaining payments thru 2028?
Did you know that the Town projects costs of a new high school, a new police station, and a new DPW Facility to be an additional $200 million which makes “planned” expenditures total $600 million under current strategies?
If you don’t, you are in the majority and it’s not surprising since Town Management has not engaged us in a frank discussion of these looming obligations as they developed or provided sensible and timely strategies to address them.