Letter to the Editor: Ruban Has The Right Ideas For Belmont

Photo: Alexandra Ruban

Letter to the editor:

I will be voting for Alexandra Ruban to be Belmont’s next selectwoman. I encourage readers to join me. 
Alexandra is an accomplished professional and the mother of two children. She has a deep, personal investment in the continued excellence of our public schools. Alexandra wants to make Belmont’s government work better for residents: opening its opaque operations to the light and saving taxpayer money that can be invested in the services we care most about schools, roads, and public buildings. 
Like many in town, Alexandra was drawn into politics by curiosity, civic responsibility and the sneaking suspicion that something was amiss. In her case, the issue was the town’s relationship with its recycling contractor. 
She began asking questions of Town Hall and discovered that Belmont this year simply renewed its contract without soliciting bids from competing firms. More outrageous: the Town has been doing so for more than a decade! Alexandra knows Belmont can do better, saving money, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and putting the town back on track with its own Climate Action Plan in the process. 
A campaign was born.
Mark Paolillo is a good and gentle man from an esteemed family. I count him as a friend. But elections aren’t about demeanor or personal style. Elections are about your record in office and your job performance. 
On far too many issues: from the Town Center redesign debacle to the multi-million dollar deficits that have been a fixture of his tenure, Mark has voted with Sami Baghdady and other staunch conservatives on the Board. During that time, residents have seen fees rise, capital investments deferred and school and town services cut. 
Alexandra has the right ideas for Belmont and the courage of her convictions. I ask you to join me in voting for her in April.

Paul Roberts

Town Meeting Member, Precinct 8
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Comments

  1. John Bowe says

    For decades Belmont’s infrastructure has been ignored, and fees have risen, and services cut.
    When costs naturally rise and residents turn down tax increases, that’s what happens.
    I find the root of that in the 1980s and 90s, not Paolillo’s time on the board.

    Mark was among those who fought to dig us out of the deficits and service cuts. The Financial Task Force, on which he quietly and convincingly worked, spelled out solid reasons to those who were skeptical of the need of a bigger tax bite.

    Are you saying that money will magically appear with a different selectman? Are there piles of money being wasted, to be suddenly uncovered? What would Alexandra done differently and more effectively? Without added revenue, what would anyone do, besides more incremental cuts?

    • says

      Mark came into office six years ago promising to solve Belmont’s chronic budget shortfalls with “small, periodic overrides.” I think that was an eminently sensible solution. The fact is: he hasn’t delivered. We’ve had one override, which merely succeeded in halving an estimated $6m to $7 m budget gap. It took Mark 5 years to get that on the ballot, during which our budget gap grew and services to students and residents were cut. Progress on important capital projects, like the Belmont Library have ground to a halt with no vision for the future. Cushing Village has languished as the BOS set deadline after deadline, only to see them blown. Even uncontroversial issues, like the Town Center, became embroiled in controversy as a result of needles meddling by the Board, including Mr. Paolillo, who was the first vote in favor of restoring the cut through.

      Votes have consequences and that’s what elections are for. I’m thrilled at the opportunity to elect Belmont’s first selectwoman in some 20 years and to have a new set of eyes looking at these problems.

      Paul

      • Anne Marie Mahoney says

        Paul,
        Two corrections.

        1. Progress on Capital projects has not ground to a halt. The Capital Budget Committee along with the FTF has criteria and priorities for dealing with these projects. The CBC is working closely with the library trustees – who are currently working through a feasibility study that the CBC partially funded and Town Meeting approved. The study will determine the scope, location, and cost of a library project that can apply for the appropriate state grant round.

        2. I got off the Board of Selectmen in 2004 – 12 years ago, not 20.

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