NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

October 29, 2013

Bezanson's priorities are transparency, education

(Continued)

This can be accomplished without cutting services, provided we ask very detailed questions before approving any allocation of taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers should not be used as an open checkbook.

One example: In 2010, the current mayor and Municipal Council approved a $2.4 million bond for the fire station/public safety buildings. This expenditure included an elevator to be installed within the fire station that would cost the taxpayers $500,000. After learning of this, I asked the Municipal Council why an elevator would be needed within the fire station. The answer: It was included in the plans and the council approved it. They could not answer my basic question.

Following that council meeting, I contacted the state and asked the same question. The response was, if the cost to repair a municipal building exceeds 30 percent of the value of the property, it has to be brought up to code. I then asked, What is the purpose of an elevator in a fire station if Amesbury does not have a disabled firefighter? The state said that the elevator was not for the workers but rather for the public who need to meet with the fire chief. I noted that Amesbury’s fire station had three empty offices on the first floor.

If we move the chief to the first floor, I asked, is there any paperwork that would need to be filled out that I could provide to the City Council? The state directed me to a website for the appropriate documentation. At the next Municipal Council meeting, I explained who I contacted and what forms needed to be filled out. Two weeks later, this paper revealed that I saved Amesbury $500,000. This is the type of attention to financial detail and common sense that I hope to bring as your councilor.

I am currently the only candidate who works in finance. Given the Municipal Council handles the allocation and approval of all city funds, I believe this would be the true value of my candidacy.

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