Kent Dems offer their perspective on infrastructure
"Usually when people talk about infrastructure they discuss roads, bridges and buildings," said the statement." We'd like to talk about a different type of infrastructure, that of a small-town government. "
"We need to look at our municipal structure so we can increase community understanding of the rights and responsibilities of our boards and commissions," said the statement. "It is important to understand this civic foundation so we can chart our course going forward as a cohesive group with our goals aligned. Before we can create a list of fun and creative ideas for Kent, we need to have an understanding of the infrastructure of small town government."
"Without an accurate understanding of how things work, a list is just a list," said Mr. Adams and Ms. Garrity. "Burying utility wires, removing snow banks, hiring a jitney (shuttle bus), creating brochures to promote our merchants, creating a new senior center -- these are similar to high school promises for longer lunches and more dances. We should not spend millions of dollars without a clear understanding of how our municipal government functions."
"Communication and collaboration are the `oils' that keep our boards and commissions working," they said. "They are essential for our town's stability and growth. They allow us to align our goals and work together to achieve success. This means attending chamber meetings and sewer commission meetings."
"We will bring the chairs of boards and commissions to the same table so we can confer and work together," said the Democratic candidates. "It means listening to peoples' ideas and frustrations. We will hear questions and find the right person to give the most accurate answer. It means explaining choices and decisions. It means admitting when we have made a mistake. Our goal is to work with all town leaders and staff to solve issues and plan for the future."
"For example, we already have an active and growing senior center," said the statement. "It was actually moved from the community house 10 years ago to Templeton Farms so it could better service our senior population. The GOP candidates have proposed moving the senior center back to the community house, adding unnecessary additional expenses to the town."
"Burying wires and removing snow banks is not high on the priority list for our Main Street merchants -- fixing the sewer is," read the statement. "That is what the merchants have told us when we went to talk to them individually. he Jazz Fest has already planned to run a jitney (shuttle bus) around town during their event, an expense the GOP candidates have proposed the town absorb."
"These are just a few examples of the how the left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing," said the statement. "We must have a Board of Selectmen that is not only in touch with the needs of the town, but also understands the capabilities and responsibilities of each board and commission."
"We will work under a collaborative umbrella," said the Democrats. "We will not seek to micromanage our departments, commissions and boards, but we will guide and support. Kent needs a strong Board of Selectmen that can manage and keep in perspective all of the multi-faceted needs of the town."
"It is a balance," they said. "This balance is achieved by being connected to all of our parts. This is why we need leaders who understand and comprehend the balance, vision, consequences, governmental structure and nuances of our town and at the same time be humane and compassionate."
"We will work towards strengthening and honing our political infrastructure," said Mr. Adams and Ms. Garrity. "It is important our town residents and business owners be informed and be involved in the planning and zoning project to rewrite the town regulations. We will update the town policy and employee manuals so there is a written process for how the town runs, how contracts are awarded, appointments made, and employees hired."
"We will explore creating a town charter for Kent so our government has the power, responsibility and flexibility to do what is best for our town," said the Democrats. "We will prioritize issues on a townwide scale. We believe in extending term limits so our Board of Selectmen will have consistency and continuity when setting and working towards long-term goals. We need to establish an all encompassing approach, including guidance from the Board of Finance."
"We are neither afraid nor intimidated by the work ahead of us," said the Democratic statement. "We are ready willing and able to the job. We have the vision to lead and the experience to do the job."