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Barowsky anxious to start work on Select Board

Date: 5/21/2012

May 21, 2012

By Chris Maza

LONGMEADOW — Mark Barowsky is anxious to dive right into the duties of his new position as a member of the Select Board at its next meeting on May 21.

"I'm excited and ready to get started," Barowsky told Reminder Publications.

Barowsky, who has seven years' experience on the Finance Committee, beat out Capital Planning Committee member Richard Foster in the May 15 Special Town Election for the Select Board seat vacated by Christine Swanson in January.

"I'm very thankful for all of the folks who came out to vote on such a dreary day," he said. "You never know with these things. You always try to be positive and hope for the best. It can be hard to tell how things are going to go because you don't get a lot of feedback."

The election brought an extremely low turnout of 344 voters, or 2.9 percent of the population of registered voters, to the Community House. Barowsky captured 214 votes while Foster received 114. There were 13 write-ins, two auxiliary votes and one blank ballot.

"It's not at all surprising," Town Clerk Katherine Ingram said. "It was really quiet leading up to the election and that's usually a good indication of a low turnout."

Barowsky will complete the final year of Swanson's term, bringing the Select Board to a full five-member panel once again.

Swanson announced her resignation in the fall of 2011 because her family was moving to Savannah, Ga., stating she would officially relinquish her seat when she sold her house or at the end of 2011, whichever came first. She officially resigned on Jan. 3.

The Special Election became necessary when a citizen petition was presented to the Select Board requesting it at a cost of approximately $9,000 to the town.

In addition to the Special Election, Barowsky also submitted nomination papers for the Annual Election, along with Foster and incumbent Paul Santaniello for two seats on the Select Board.

However, Barowsky does not intend to campaign for that position due to the fact that if he were elected to a second Select Board seat, he would have to resign from the first, which would prompt another Special Town Election at an additional cost to the town.

Ballots cannot be altered once they are printed.

Barowsky said one of the first issues he hopes to press is the numerous stumps of fallen or removed trees on the tree belt that have not been grinded down after the Oct. 29, 2011 snowstorm.

Barowsky spoke strongly on the issue at a recent Finance Committee meeting, stating the town should "let the residents of this town know that we're taking some action."

"Clearly this is something I have spoken passionately about and I really think we need to start tackling that issue," he said.

The development of a 21-acre parcel of undeveloped land owned by the town for senior housing is another initiative he would like to see the Select Board explore.

"This could be great for us because it could bring revenue to us in the sale of the land to a developer and it would increase our yearly revenues through additional real estate taxes," he said.

With the Select Board expecting to choose a new Town Manager in the near future, Barowsky said his experience on the Finance Committee would be valuable in ensuring the candidate chosen has a firm handle on the town's financial goals.

"My biggest strength is on the financial end and that strength is one thing I would like to see in a Town Manager," he said. "I would like to see that they have financial plan for the town."

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