In advance of the annual town election on March 29, Winchester Patch is posting Q&As with the Board of Selectmen candidates who are running for election or re-election to the board.
The following Q&A is with Douglas Marmon, who is seeking election to the Board of Selectmen. Brian O’Connor and Douglas Wilkinson are also candidates.
Please give a brief history of any town experience you have, including serving on a committee or being involved in the community.
I was on the Finance Committee for nine years and the chair for one. And that was a real good learning experience for me. Everyone needs money, and I was able to talk to a lot of people and see how different areas of the town work.
I’m co-chair of the Capital Planning Committee. And the trick there is to figure how much money to spend.
So, why are you running?
I’m involved with a lot of organizations in town – the and the – I’m committed to the town and I enjoy public service. I know the issues affecting the town and I can bring new ideas to the selectmen table.
What will be one of these ideas that you’ll bring to the table?
Well, we need a new Town Manager. It’s been a while. Eleven months ago we told . It’s not an easy transition, but we have got to do it, and the sooner the better. This is something that some time ago.
What are your thoughts of the $1.44 million override residents will have to vote on?
The . I think the Board of Selectmen believes that they can pass an override every three years. I think we need to plan better. We can’t just go to the taxpayer whenever we run out of money. We went too long when we didn’t have a fiscal plan. It’s hard to come up with a solution right now, but we can’t just go to the taxpayers every third year; it’s just not going to work.
With and the there’s a limit to how many overrides we can pass. And I don’t just want to cut, but we can’t continue to grow the budget. We have to work on doing more wage agreements and health insurance, which costs more each year. We need to share some of those costs more. Everyone needs to sacrifice something, not just the taxpayer.
The schools can’t get everything they want. And that doesn’t mean I want to hack and slash everything. But if the override doesn’t pass that’s what we’re going to have to do. I’m pretty sure I’m going to vote for [the override]. But that’s because we’re boxed in. If we don’t get it this year then we’re going to need it next year. I’m voting for it because we need it, but I don’t like it. I’m going to be reluctantly voting for it.
What are some of your thoughts regarding the schools and specifically, the school buildings?
I was in favor of the The school was old, there was trouble with access and energy and the state helped us out. It’s not surprising that every 50 years we need a new school.
But the high school isn’t in that bad of shape; it’s just not big enough. The science labs look old. It’s more programmatic. It’s not deteriorating; I believe there’s a way where we can rearrange the rooms. And we’ve already put money into it. There are new doors, lockers, bathrooms. When the is done, it’s not going to be cheap. That’s a real knot to be untied.
We do need to keep the schools up, and we’ve done a good job. Most of the schools are in pretty good shape. The schools are fairing pretty well, the DPW and Transfer Station I think are the areas that need to be improved.
What are your feelings about paid parking in the Town Center?
The Town Center is a tough place for the police to monitor; would be easier. But the chamber’s not in favor of it. I’m sure we’ll have some parts metered, but I don’t think we’ll end up with meters all over town. There’s not a lot of public support for it.
To read the Q&A with Doug Wilkinson
To read the Q&A with Brian O'Connor