2017 SAVE Environmental Forum -Candidate’s Vision Statements

SAUGUS ACTION VOLUNTEERS

FOR THE ENVIRONMENT (SAVE)

SAVE asked candidates for Board of Selectmen to provide a brief statement addressing their environmental vision for our Town. The following was submitted:

{Note: Candidates responses are listed alphabetically, by candidates’ last name}

SCOTT A. BRAZIS:

My name is Scott Brazis and I am currently the Vice-Chair of the Saugus Board of Selectmen. I am running for re-election to the Board so that I can continue to be part of the collaborative solution and cooperative change that is now taking place for our community. This group of Selectmen has restored our Town government back on a positive track and is moving Saugus forward once again. I ask that you please consider me for one of your five votes to the Board of Selectmen so together we can carry on our advocacy for real change by continuing to put the residents and Saugus first.

My vision and support for Saugus includes protecting and enhancing our environment for ourselves and for the future generations of Saugus. Throughout my adult like I have been committed to the youth and the community of Saugus. I have always advocated and appreciated the environment. I was fortunate enough as a young adult to have spent approximately a decade as a warden at Prankers Pond.

Earning a Master’s Degree as well as having attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Program at Harvard University and Boston University’s Corporate Education Center, where I furthered my studies in leadership and critical thinking in the 21st Century, focusing on problem-solving in the public government sector, along with having three decades of municipal professional experience serving the public in the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, where I retired as Special Sheriff/Superintendent, second in command of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office. I believe these skills have assisted in the recent initiatives we as a Board of Selectmen have supported and will continue to lead in the challenges we as a community face for our environment and vision for the future of Saugus and our neighborhoods.

I believe this Board of Selectmen have a track record in meeting the challenges of Saugus which includes the environment by changing the way we confront these opportunities by insisting we treat everyone with respect and civility while working together collaboratively using effective communication and mutual cooperation.

I am proud to have supported and advocated for the residents of Saugus and the environment on these recent initiatives:

  1. The recent purchase of two town electric cars and a public electric charger at the DPW through Green Grant monies.

  1. The adopted grease trap regulation that will protect residents, businesses, and the environment within the Town of Saugus. The fats, oils, and grease (FOG) has been an expensive problem that has plagued our sewer system, environment, and the ratepayers of Saugus for decades. Establishments that fall under these regulations will all be held to the same standards. This regulation will help protect the ratepayers from incurring costly repairs due to a lack of consistent regulations preventing damage from (FOG) to the Town’s sewer infrastructure.

  1. The Board of Selectmen’s policy supporting the residents of Saugus and specifically East Saugus that opposes any additional forms of combustion of solid waste that will yield additional air and ash emissions – no third burner from Wheelabrator (RESCO). The policy also supports the ash landfill’s closure by Dec. 31, 2016 — a closure date specified in the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s 2014 solid waste facility report.

  1. The Town’s recent approval in becoming a designated Green Community. Saugus will gain substantial energy, economic, and environmental benefits from participating in this program. Being a designated Green Community will give Saugus the opportunity to apply for and receive grant funding for green initiatives. It will also reduce energy usage and minimize taxpayer energy costs. This is a tremendous opportunity for the Town to make these important improvements as it becomes greener and more energy efficient. As part of the application requirements the Town had to complete the following:

  1. Provide zoning for the as-of-right siting in renewable or alternative energy generating facilities, research and development facilities or manufacturing facilities.

  2. Adopt an expedited application and permitting process under which the renewable or alternative energy facilities may be sited within the municipality.

  3. Adopt a comprehensive, five-year Energy Reduction Plan designed to reduce that baseline by 20 percent after those five years.

  4. Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use.

  5. Minimize life-cycle costs during construction and development by utilizing energy efficiency, water conservation and other renewable or alternative energy technologies.

  1. The completion of the Open Space Plan to meet the Commonwealth’s conditional approval requirements.

  1. The Town’s continued sewer system infrastructure upgrades which will eliminate discharge into the Saugus River and comply with the Town’s Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Administrative Consent Order (ACO).

  1. The Town’s continued leak detection and water main replacement programs which will conserve water and protect the infrastructure of our water system.

  1. I support smart growth in our economic development in helping protect the natural systems that support life. The adoption of the building code bylaws known as the ‘stretch’ energy code which promotes more energy efficient building standards to achieve approximately a 20% improvement in building energy performance. By creating vibrant places that attract people and investment, growth can be directed away from forests and other important Town resources. Smart growth is also about strengthening protections for natural areas themselves and improving the environment where we live.

  1. The solar farm on the capped landfill site behind the town’s Department of Public Works (DPW) building on Main Street. This would include a 20-year agreement for the purchase of discounted electricity produced by a system-purchase power agreement. The solar panels occupy six acres of the 20-acre site and would generate approximately 1,000 megawatts of power. I also support the town considering mounting solar panels on the roofs of the Veterans Memorial Elementary School, the Belmonte Middle School, and being PV ready for the new Middle-High School – projects that would produce an additional 700-1400 kilowatts of solar energy. This is a great use of land for a green purpose of otherwise non-usable landfill site and rooftops with the added benefit of not having adverse impacts to the environment.

As one of your Selectmen, I firmly believe, as the residents of Saugus do, that the recent positive change for Saugus has benefited the community. As residents, we need to invest in our community and build and protect our future. Let’s keep this train moving forward for Saugus and continue to look at better ways of achieving Town goals and delivering public services together. The citizens of Saugus want our community to be competitive in every way with other surrounding cities and towns. Please consider one of your five votes for me on November 7th, Scott Brazis, and I will continue to put Saugus first. Thank you!

JEFFREY V. CICOLINI:

I have always been environmentally aware to a certain degree however in the past decade I have become significantly more passionate and outspoken about protecting our environment, our people, our earth! In today’s fast paced society everyone is trying to do everything more efficiently and effectively and unfortunately sometimes the impact on our environment is not taken into account. Protection of our environment and the natural resources is imperative in order to make sure our future generations can enjoy the air we breathe and the land we occupy. Education needs to start as early as possible for our children. From renewable energy, solar farms and the importance of the capping of landfills to promoting recycling, the use of hybrid vehicles and encouraging the purchase of energy efficient household items such as appliances, toilets and hot water heaters there are countless ways for our residents to partake in the protection of our environmental and its natural resources.

I feel my actions speak louder than words, for example;

  • Every property I own contains energy efficient appliances, water heaters and furnaces. I began the process of installing low flush toilets a couple of years ago which has been completed.

  • I made the motion at the board of Selectman’s meeting to re-affirm the board’s position statement preventing any further expansion of the ash landfills on Rt. 107. This motion passed 5-0.

  • I attended and spoke at the Revere City Council meeting over the summer to emphasize my support for Representative RoseLee Vincent’s bill (H.771) surrounding the same topic re: preventing any further expansion of the ash landfills.

  • I wrote a letter as a citizen of Saugus and officer/Treasurer of the Point of Pines Yacht Club to our legislators to emphasize the importance of their support of Representative Vincent’s legislation.

  • My family has been recycling since it started in Saugus and I am proud to say this has been passed on to my children who take part in the process of separating our materials each week before trash and recycling containers are put by the curb.

  • I fully support the proposed policy by the Saugus Board of Health pertaining to the grease trap regulations for places of business (FOG policy). I have not supported any waivers applied for by businesses as this policy was being developed, instead we attached a condition that the company must comply with the regulations in the future.

In closing I would say that awareness of the importance of environmental protection is of great importance to me and my family. I am always searching for ways to increase my participation in energy conservation and resource protection. I am excited to know that the new High School/Middle School will be a LEED certified, energy efficient project. If I am re-elected to the Board of Selectman I would like to work with the Town Manager and our recycling coordinator to explore items to further our stance as a green community. This includes looking into the pros and cons of single stream recycling as well as researching grants (beyond the ones we already received), that may be available to Saugus to continue to update our facilities to more energy efficient platforms.

MICHAEL A. COLLER:

As a current Conservation Commission Member and Library Board of Trustee, it is with great pleasure I announce my Candidacy for Selectman and kindly ask for your support and vote on November 7, 2017. My vision for our community is to protect and appreciate our resources though diligent litigious reviews and subsequent awareness campaigns generating a “newly invigorated” interest in appreciating our environment. Protection of our wetlands, estuaries and all other natural resources is essential not only to the fragile ecosystem but to our citizens and visitors alike. A well maintained, monitored and conserved environment allows for the animals of which includes birds, fish and all other species to procreate, spawn and develop. All this allows for the enjoyment of viewing and education for all. Lastly, for our Town’s people that earn a living from harvesting from the land, waterways and ocean, a strategic monitoring will add to the Town’s economy and maintain small businesses. Thank you for your time and consideration.

JENNIFER E. D’EON:

My environmental vision for the Town of Saugus is to find and create more green/open spaces, such as a Town Common or Green and further modernize our current parks and open space to the demands of today. Green space use has evolved and we need to catch up. This requires Strategic Planning for our green/open space. Green spaces such as parks and sports fields are vitally important to the health and wellbeing of our residents. These areas as well as forests, wooded areas, natural meadows and wetlands like the Rumney Marsh, represent a fundamental component of our town’s ecosystem. Green areas are beneficial in many ways; they facilitate physical activity and relaxation, and form a buffer or barrier from noise. Trees and other flora produce the oxygen we breathe, and help filter out harmful air pollution, including airborne particulate matter. Local bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, rivers and fountains, moderate temperatures, in other words they help cool us down, unlike large, open paved areas like parking lots or concrete plazas.

Open space is any open piece of land that is undeveloped (has no structures on it) and is easily accessible to the public. Green space (land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation) would be set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an otherwise urban environment. We need to interface the urban areas with the green space in a well-designed way to maximize access and use.

Public parks and gardens play a critical role in cooling cities. They give us safe routes for walking and cycling around town as well as providing space for physical or recreational activities, social interaction and community gatherings. Recent estimates show that physical inactivity, linked to poor walkability and lack of access to recreational areas, accounts for 3.3% of global deaths. You need to be able to get to the green/open spaces in a safe manner, like the rail trail or other trails and walkways along with a good system of sidewalks.

Green spaces also are important to mental health. Having access to green spaces can reduce health problems, improve overall well-being, and aid in treatment of mental illness. Some analysis suggests that physical activity in a natural environment can help remedy mild depression and reduce physiological stress indicator. What could be more relaxing than enjoying a beautiful, active park on a sunny day with family and friends?

Prioritizing Green/Open space is an important part of the economic development of Saugus. It will add beauty and value to our Town.

MARK D. MITCHELL:

My name is Mark Mitchell; I am seeking re-election to the Board of Selectmen. I am asking you for your consideration and one of your votes on Election Day.

 

My candidacy is based upon continuing to restore Saugus in all forms.  My concern for Saugus fully extends to the environmental issues our Town and neighborhoods are currently facing as well as strategic “green” planning by studying, designing, constructing and implementing energy efficient activities and infrastructure for our future. 

 

I feel my education in having an accounting degree from Northeastern University as well as my professional experience as a controller is the right skill set for the Board of Selectmen.  I have enjoyed and spent a lifetime volunteering and supporting our community and the youth of Saugus. It has enabled me to effectively advocate for residents of Saugus. I have delivered on my promises of restoring dignity, respect, and professionalism to the Board of Selectmen. We, as a Board of Selectmen, have collectively made marked improvements and moved the Town forward in a positive direction away from the divisiveness and negativity.  We are working so that every resident can again be proud to say they are from Saugus. 

 

I continue to stand with the residents of East Saugus and do not support any expansion of a third burner or the land ash fill at the Wheelerbrator (RESCO) site.

 

My record on advocating for the residence of Saugus and the environment also includes:

 

1)   The adoption of grease trap regulation that protects residents, businesses, and the environment within the Town of Saugus from blockages of the Town’s sanitary sewer system caused by grease, kitchen oils, fats (FOG) and other substances discharged from food establishments in Town.

 

2)   Becoming a designated Green Community through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Green Communities Designation and Grant Program.  Being a designated Green Community has given Saugus the opportunity to apply for and receive grant funding for green initiatives.  It will also reduce energy usage and minimize taxpayer energy costs.  Receiving this designation has helped reduce the Town’s carbon footprint, which reduces our energy usage, as well. Less energy usage means more money for running the Town and providing services to our residents

 

3)   The Sewer infrastructure improvements and requirements surrounding the Town’s (ACO) Administrative Consent Order

 

4)   The Board of Selectmen’s policy supporting a decrease in air emissions and ash disposal.  The policy states that the Board of Selectmen opposes any additional forms of combustion of solid waste that will yield additional air and ash emissions.

 

As one of your Selectman, I have and will continue to work to preserve and improve the quality of life in Saugus, protect our environment and neighborhoods, and enhance our property values.  Please consider one of your five votes for me, Mark Mitchell as Selectman.  Thank you.    

ASSUNTA A. PALOMBA:

As selectman, my goal is to help to create cleaner neighborhoods in Saugus by working together with our neighbors to improve local environmental quality. A clean, healthy and well-protected environment supporting a sustainable society and economy is my vision for Saugus. The CHaRM center behind the DPW has expanded since 2015 and my goal is to maintain and improve on a great asset to our town. Working in the community, I see that people love open space. We are fortunate to have open space such as Breakheart Reservation and Prankers Pond; I want to help Saugus preserve as much open space as possible. It’s important to the quality of life in our town to maintain our parks. My experience at organizing volunteering work will be a valuable asset in the effort to make our town better and to inspire citizens to appreciate and maintain our resources, as well. Enjoying these beautiful resources help us to maintain both physical and mental health.

DEBRA C. PANETTA:

My environmental vision has been shaped by three decades of involvement in the environmental affairs of Saugus. I am currently the President of the Saugus River Watershed Council, past-President of the Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment, member of the Alliance for Health and the Environment, member of the Conservation Law Foundation, and a 12 year past member of the Tree Committee. I have also been endorsed (again) by the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club’s mission is to protect the earth by promoting the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources, as well as to educate, protect, and restore the quality of the environment.

My vision for Saugus includes a clean, healthy and attractive environment. The air we breathe, the space we share, the energy we consume, and the water we protect are all critical aspects of my vision. Most important is my personal belief that as a Selectman, my actions will not result in environmental degradation.

I have not, and will not allow any proposal or project that would result in direct or eventual environmental harm. I have not, and will not support a project for any Saugus neighborhood that I would not want in my own neighborhood. I believe a healthy environment equals a healthy Saugus. I believe my actions as a sitting Selectman are consistent with my belief that we should do everything we can to protect our valuable natural resources to ensure a healthy Saugus for future generations.

Natural areas such as Rumney Marsh, Pranker’s Pond, the Saugus River, and Breakheart Reservation help promote and preserve healthy neighborhoods, provide opportunities for recreation, and are an important part of our town’s economy. While I support economic development, I believe that such economic development must balance the protection of our valuable natural resources with opportunities for quality growth and appropriate redevelopment.

The people of Saugus know my position on RESCO. They know I will not support any expansion of the RESCO facility. Back in 2013 when I learned that RESCO was considering expanding its ash residue landfill, I wrote a policy regarding waste to energy, ash disposal, and solid waste facilities in Saugus that was presented to and approved unanimously by the Board of Selectmen. In 2015, this policy was again voted (unanimously) by the current Board of Selectmen, solidifying our stance on a healthy environment. This detailed policy states that the Town of Saugus would encourage and support that which would result in a net decrease in air emissions and ash disposal. The policy further states that Saugus is opposed to any additional forms of combustion of solid waste that would yield additional air and ash emissions and that we support existing dates for ash landfill closure established by the Commonwealth. Upon adoption, this policy was sent to appropriate elected and appointed state officials.

This Board also sent a letter to the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government in support of Representative Roselee Vincent’s proposed legislation. I attended and spoke at the Revere Council meeting in support of this legislation. There was a meeting before the Joint Commission at the state house that I to attended and spoke at in support of this legislation.

H771: “Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of environmental protection shall not approve or issue a license for a third burner at the Wheelabrator facility in the town of Saugus or any other solid waste disposal process that would result in additional air emissions or ash disposal at the Saugus incinerator and adjacent ash landfill on Route 107.”

I have also supported the Town Manager’s efforts to have RESCO acknowledge that as a host community, we deserve to be treated better than just a “paying customer.” As a result of this approach, the Manager was able to negotiate a tipping rate of $62 per ton compared to the previous charge of $77. This has resulted in Saugus saving $171,000 in the first year, money that can now be used to maintain the full services that our community has come to expect and enjoy.

I support the Town’s capital improvement project, which looks at our capital exposure to bring safe, environmentally friendly, and energy efficiencies for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Saugus was designated as a Green Community by the Department of Energy Resources, where we received $451K in grants. Green buildings offer a variety of ways to provide excellent insulation to residencies, reducing the need to use expensive air-conditioning and heaters. Considering this, I would like to see more ‘green’ town buildings in Saugus. It was a positive measure that the Belmonte is now a ‘green’ school, and our new middle/high school will be also be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and solar ready.

I supported the investing in 2 electric vehicles and one charging station for greater and cleaner energy conservation. These vehicles offer lower fuel costs, improved economy and reduced emissions. They were fully funded through grants and incentives.

I believe in alternative forms of energy that have been proven to not negatively impact public health. Ameresco won the award for the contract for the solar (photovoltaic) panel farm at the DPW. The low cost of solar energy is a great benefit in a green community where it not only reduces energy bills but also reduces the use of power plants and natural gas, thus helping the environment. This will bring in $80K annually and an estimated 2 million kilowatts in electric credits.

I was an early supporter of the Bike to the Sea rail trail. This project has shown all of Saugus the vast potential we have with our undiscovered open spaces. I am a strong supporter of the parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities efforts. Working with the Town Manager, Finance Committee, and Town Meeting, our most recent efforts include the total rehabilitation of the Bucchiere/Bristow Street Park, the Veterans School Playground, and building five new tennis courts and a pickleball court in back of the Belmonte school. I was also a strong supporter of Round Hill historic site, attending meetings to assisting the Saugus Historical Commission.

I believe Saugus can realize an increase in recycling. Currently, our recycling rate is approximately 30%. If we include the drop-off days, that percentage increases to about 40%. With our new CHARM center (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials) which will is located at the Main Street landfill, we are able to increase recycling while saving the taxpayers money. This results in more accessible recycling, keeping items out of the incineration process. Not only is this a first for Saugus, but it is a first for Massachusetts. Keeping hazardous materials out of the waste stream is better for the environment and our public health, and is more efficient and convenient than having scheduled “hazardous waste” drop off days. I would also like to see efforts within Massachusetts deal with the issue of recycling styrofoam. It is perplexing how the take-out white containers and styrofoam cups have recycling symbols on them, but there is no facility in Massachusetts that recycles this material. I spoke to the Solid Waste Recycling Coordinator about doing a one-day Styrofoam drop off. I also support the shredding and hazardous item town events that truly remove items from the waste stream.

Clean water is of the utmost importance. I have supported the development of a water main capital improvement program based on objective criteria. This program developed by Camp Dresser & Mckee, will allow Saugus to target water improvements logically and systematically over the next decade.

Saugus remains a party to an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with the DEP due to a prior administration dumping raw sewage into the Saugus River and a failing infrastructure. Originally estimated to cost the taxpayers $27M, I am pleased that this important effort to protect public health and valuable natural resources is coming in under budget. That is why as a Selectman/ Sewer Commissioner, I will continue to apply the regulations and rules designed to protect this investment in our sewer system as well as the environment and public health consistently and fairly. I have not and will not allow politics or favoritism to influence how I apply these rules.

I support Smart Growth in our approach to land use. Smart Growth for Saugus means building and re-building within the geographical and historical texture of Saugus. With proper planning, including early engagement of all stakeholders, Saugus can develop zoning overlays and proposals that protect and enhance the environment, grow the economy, and promote fair and quality housing opportunities.

I supported creation of the Historic Mill Overlay District which was an important initiative for Saugus where we are preserving historical buildings while allowing for mixed-use. This effort involved careful planning and multiple iterations based on stakeholder feedback. I also supported the waterfront mixed use overlay district designed to encourage economic growth and development.

I supported the reconstruction of Lincoln Avenue with concrete sidewalks, granite curbs, and a strip of green space. High quality design that includes a grass strip between the sidewalk and granite curbing is not only aesthetically appropriate but will help capture and absorb rain water run-off before it enters in the street. Lincoln Avenue is a major gateway to and from Saugus.

My goal is to always do the right thing for the environment while extending the taxpayers’ dollars. While I am a Saugus Selectman, our environment will continue to be an area of focus. A thoughtful and proactive approach to our environment is good for homeowners, neighborhoods, and businesses. Protecting and enriching our environment does not have to be radical or painful. It requires skilled staff, innovative ideas, and leaders who have vision. I believe my record proves that I have the vision needed to continue providing a balanced approach to protecting Saugus’ natural resources for future generations.

CORINNE R. RILEY:

My environmental vision for Saugus is simple and practical. I would like the environment to be clean and safe. To achieve those goals, I would focus on practical measures that are within our control. Specifically, I would like to see:

more recycling in Saugus, perhaps introducing recycling education into the curriculum, or having a “Recycling Day” where the students could learn the benefits of recycling

broader outreach within the community as a whole to inform the people in town about responsible disposal of car tires, items containing mercury like fluorescent bulbs, thermostats, thermometers at the CHARM Center

broader outreach within the community as a whole to inform the people in town about Household Hazardous Waste Collection for environmentally-responsible disposal of latex paint, household chemicals, motor oil, antifreeze, car batteries, etc

broader outreach within the community as a whole to inform the people in town about dropping swimming pool chlorine levels before draining

addition of more trash containers on the rail trail. 2 trash cans for a 2.5 mile path is not sufficient

One of my top priorities as Selectman is to develop a Capital Improvement Plan for Saugus. Given our upcoming school closures at the Waybright, Lynnhurst, and Oaklandvale, the next two years are the time to begin planning what the residents want to do with those sites. In developing the plan, I would promote outreach to the public and subject-matter experts, so that their ideas and concerns, including environmental issues, are considered by the Board of Selectmen.

MICHAEL J. SERINO:

I believe the residents in Saugus, thanks in part to SAVE, are more aware of the environmental issues we continue to face as a society today. Environmental visions I would like to see for our Town are:

  • Expanded tree planting program
  • Expansion of the Charm recycling center at the Town’s compost site
  • Additional solar panel farms similar to the one located behind the DPW building
  • No expansion of the RESCO facility
  • The closing of the toxic ash landfill on Rumney Marsh
  • Street sweeping twice a year
  • Ongoing water and sewer rehabilitation program throughout the Town
  • Environmental education programs in our public schools
  • Increased open space/recreational facilities
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s