July 13, 2024

Vote David Viera for Seekonk Selectman

Posted

Dear Seekonk Residents,

I am David Viera, a candidate to serve again on the Seekonk Board of Selectmen. If elected, I will advocate for Seekonk's needs while working to make a living in Seekonk affordable. I have a proven, measured track record of tackling all the significant challenges facing our town today: skyrocketing property taxes, rising spending that does not meet our priorities, critical zoning challenges, primary capital needs, and problems with hiring and retaining essential leadership positions in town.

I am a lifelong Seekonk resident and have served our town as. a police officer, firefighter, our longest-serving Fire Chief of 13 years, Zoning Board of Appeals member, Selectman. and veteran's advocate. But I am concerned about our future. Seekonk’s future must be protected. Extraordinary growth, skyrocketing property values, and the need for more town services are causing property taxes to increase, making it less affordable for seniors and working families to stay in Seekonk. If we don’t make some changes soon, more and more of us will not be able to afford to live in Seekonk.

In my previous term during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was the only Selectman strongly advocating for fiscal discipline when formulating our budgets when there was a massive influx of state and federal pandemic dollars available. I thought our spending levels were too high, and I was concerned that the pandemic would inflate residential property values while the shutdowns would flatten and/or deflate the commercial real estate market. Unfortunately, my fears were accurate. Now, property taxes have skyrocketed over the past two years with no end in sight, As your Selectman, I will strongly advocate for property tax relief by proposing a residential tax exemption to relieve the most struggling homeowners. We need to find creative ways to shift the property tax burden from homeowners.

We also need to reexamine how we fund trash removal and recycling. I will propose the board review our trash disposal enterprise fund and examine the possibility of absorbing trash removal into our operating budget. In this challenging economic environment, we should be looking for ways to save taxpayers as much money as possible.

Just before my previous term on the board ended, I was the only member who voted against offering a contract to our two previous police chief candidates, overlooking our deputy chief. Both of those candidates did not work out. Critical mistakes were made when the Board tried things right, resulting in a multi-million dollar judgment to our former chief, significantly raising our town’s insurance. Hiring leaders in our most critical departments (police and fire) is something we can’t afford to get wrong.

We also need to ensure that all our departments are appropriately funded. We have experienced exceptional residential growth over the past ten years, and it will continue for a while. We need to plan for the future now. We need to project what our town services will be moving forward, especially our schools that help drive our town’s growth and represent more than half our tax dollars. As a board, we should redouble our efforts to work closely with our school committee to develop an effective and careful plan to address our school facilities well into the future. It is essential to our town’s future success or failure.

Lastly, I want to address the $425,000 town meeting appropriated to pay for the design, planning, and engineering to construct a South End Fire Station on School Street. The building committee did its job and submitted a proposal to the Board of Selectmen last year to approve and have the voters decide to support the building project. Unfortunately, a majority of the board voted not to approve sending the project to the voters. It was wrong for the Board of Selectmen to stop this project from getting to the voters. The bottom line is that taxpayers paid for the plans to be drawn, and therefore, the voters must be the ones to decide if the project should be approved. As your Selectman, I will always vote to let the people decide on any building project at the ballot box, regardless of whether I support the project.

I hope to earn your vote again on or before Monday, April 1st. Seekonk is a beautiful town with great people. I have been proud to serve Seekonk my entire life. I would be honored to serve as your Selectman once again, and I will always vote in the best interest of our town.

Sincerely,

David Viera

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