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 Wilkinson, who is seeking election to the Board of Selectmen. Wilkinson has been a resident of Winchester since 1981 and a member of the since 1985. Brian O’Connor and Douglas Marmon are also candidates.
If elected, this would be your first position in town government. Why are you running?
It goes back to the health insurance negotiations between the police and the town. I found them very frustrating. And I realized in order to change local government I need to get involved in it. I understand there will be some people in town that won’t support my stance – tightening the budget, stopping the overrides and changing the status quo.
I feel there are people that share my view. They’re the blue-collar workers that are tired of the constant overrides that are driving them out of town.
What is your opinion of the $1.44 million override?
I’m against it. I think it should be defeated. There’s an economic downturn nationwide. So, why are we in Winchester going to the pockets of our citizens without tightening our belt. The schools, the municipal government, during times like these we need to look at our self as a whole and tighten our belt. If there needs to be some , then so be it.
The tide will eventually go back where we can get those jobs back. If we can’t pay our bills then we need to stop spending money. I’m voting
What are we going to do at the end of the next three years? We’re going to have the same discussion about another override to fill in the budget gap. It needs to stop sometime and now’s as good a time as any.
What are your thoughts of the Vinson-Owen override and the potential for the need of an override for the high school?
Right now the most important thing is economic stability for our town. If we need an , but we’re still in the grips of this downturn then it’s going to have to be put off. Then the timing of it wouldn’t support passing it; not during a time when people are lucky to have a job.
People don’t have money and they can’t afford to spend more money. They have to live within their means and we should expect the same out of the town.
Back in the 90s the MSBA [Massachusetts School Building Authority] gave something like 70 percent aid. It’s much greater than what we got at Now it’s less and all of a sudden we need to rebuild these buildings. Well, we may need to live with them longer than we want to.
So then what’s your opinion on the schools and their budget?
The schools are just one component of the town we have to look at. But the problem with the schools is that as soon as their kids graduate high school their parents move out of town. We’ve turned into a drive-thru for schools. And in Winchester we support the schools.
But people drive in, park for 12 years, pass the overrides and drive out. Then the working man is forced to support this vision of Winchester.
I would like to see something that Wellesley does. If people are there for less than 10 years and move out, a percentage of the sale goes to the town. We need something like that, to stop Drive Thru U.
If you’re elected, you’d be new to town government. How will that benefit Winchester?
I’d be able to bring a different perspective. Listen, I don’t have all the answers, but I do have fresh ideas – some may work and some may not. But they need to be brought forward.
One idea is to lower health insurance. We need to talk about insurance and possibly regionalization to lower some of our costs.
I’ll bring a working man’s perspective. Those guys on the board now are all business owners.
What are your thoughts on paid parking in Winchester?
Studies prove that are a mechanical black hole in terms of maintenance. But there are some areas where we could see a benefit. There are so many cars from neighboring towns that park in our lots and they don’t leave anything in Winchester besides their exhaust.
We could look at a pay-as-you-go system that could help the town. Every penny we earn is one less the town has to spend.
To read the Q & A with Doug Marmon
To read the Q&A with Brian O'Connor clicker here.