As part of The Daily News’ coverage of the upcoming election in Amesbury, we asked the candidates for City Council to fill out questionnaires and provide a synopsis of their platform and reason for running.
Today, the coverage continues with the responses of the candidates for District 5: incumbent Joe McMilleon and his challenger, Erin Butt.
Both my wife and I are retired and living on a fixed income. So I understand how difficult it is to pay for quality services that cause our taxes to increase. These are the reasons I seek this office:
First, I firmly believe there are ways that we can have quality schools and other essential services and lower our taxes. However, this will not be easy and it will not be accomplished overnight. Lowering taxes and continuing to provide quality services is complicated — it is not a black and white issue that can simply be solved by saying we will cut spending and lower taxes.
Second, I believe this process will require a sensible and disciplined approach regarding salaries and benefits. We cannot continue to fund what we cannot afford.
Third, because property taxes are the primary source of revenue for all cities and towns and the school budget represents almost 55 percent [26 million dollars] of our overall city budget, the state and federal government need to fully fund their portion of the mandated programs they have placed on all communities. This would save $200,000 to 400,000 in the Amesbury school budget. In addition, the state, rather than continuing to cut local aid to cities and towns needs to increase the aid that they provide.
Fourth, reclaiming, preserving, and enhancing our lakes and waterways as vital assets to our community.
Finally, we need to find other sources of revenue, other than property taxes, like commercial and industrial development. We need to provide incentives for these companies to locate in Amesbury.