Dartmouth Selectman Candidates Discuss The Issues Ahead Of Election
Two current Dartmouth officials are looking to fill the vacancy left after former selectman John george's arrest last year.
With Tuesday, April 5 being election day in town, Planning Board member Joel Avila and Finance Committee member John Haran attended Candidate's Night on Wednesday to answer questions from the crowd at town hall, and maybe win a few votes for the fifth Select Board position.
Both candidates expressed the need to support the debt exclusion ballot question for the police station renovation. Town Meeting recently voted to borrow $8.4 million for the building's overhaul.
While the the renovated building would last 40 years according to officials, Haran says the town has an obligation to future generations beyond that.
Haran suggested creating an account designated to help pay for future buildings.
When asked about increasing town revenue without raising taxes, Haran warned that growth comes at a cost as the town's new revenue growth will drop from $1.4 million in 2016 to $500,000 in 2017.
Avila made similar comments beforehand, saying the town needs to live within its means.
"We need to face the fiscal realities that we will not have the growth, or the rapid growth that we've had the last five or so years. You know, there are only so many medical facilities that can be built. There are only so many solar farms that can be built," Avila says.
The candidates also chimed in on a School Committee question regarding out-of-town students to attend Dartmouth schools for a $5,000 tuition fee.
While Avila welcomed the additional revenue to the town depending on available space in classrooms, Haran says the asking price for tuition isn't enough.
"I think we should weight the option of smaller class sizes. I think the parents would rather have that than $5,000 per student when it costs a lot more money to educate a student in the town of Dartmouth," Haran says.
Incumbent selectman Shawn McDonald will run unopposed for re-election this year, as he seeks another three-year term.