|~ Submitted by Richard R. Green, candidate for Selectman in Hampden|
HAMPDEN In announcing my candidacy for Selectman, it is first most important to thank those who have volunteered their time, resources and front yards. We now have in excess of 100 yard signs out. Nothing, including change, is possible without these efforts.
Hampden is a great place to live and work. Our children are the fourth generation of the family to grow up here. Therefore, it is important to give back whenever you can.
This is what I've tried to do starting with four terms as a Selectman (1987-1999), 10 years "original member" of the Read Aloud Program, seven years as a soccer coach, six years Hampden Lions Cub (serving as President twice), Recreation Association of Hampden (two years as president), Minnechaug Booster Club Board, Hampden-Wilbraham Chamber of Commerce Board, Scantic Valley YMCA Gold committee, Forest Park Zoo Board of Directors and Human Resources Unlimited Events committee.
Inasmuch as most of these are current memberships, some will have to give way to the service of our community. The coming years will bring continued financial challenges (when have they not). We are going to need to be more pragmatic than ever with regard to the budgeting process starting with unfunded mandates from whereever they originate.
They are going to have to be listed, described, prioritized and ultimately, we are going to have to decide on some which will simply not be funded in order to free up funds for "our" priorities. Next, we need to pursue grants at all levels, although most cannot be used for operational expenses. They can be used for capital or other expenditures deemed to be important, thus freeing up other funds for operations.
There are several ways to secure the services of a grant writer which we will explore. If we continue to be conservative in our budgeting process as the Advisory Committee has been, we may be able to create a small reservoir of revenue which can be used to stabilize the service aspects of our budget and even create a rainy day fund for the future.
Since 1987, the "Regional Selectmen" meetings have paid dividends to our communities by allowing us to provide benefits and services while at the same time utilizing the economics of size in our purchasing power.
We need to strengthen our relations with our boundary neighbors and build on this award-winning program. In terms of philosophy, it is important to get the Board back to meeting every Monday night at 7 p.m. Our residents need to not only feel welcome and respected in the Selectmen's Office, they need to be able to count on consistency as to when and where they can find the Board.
I have made it a point to use "I" sparingly throughout this announcement. That, based on the fact there is little accomplished by one alone, but usually through the efforts of many, such as those who have stepped up for the Senior Center, Library and Parks and Rec. in our community. Community spirit is solid and growing and with support, "I" hope to do my part.