Jim Muri, Running for Board of Selectmen
I am running for the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen and I would like to say a few short things in support of my candidacy. My wife Nancy and I moved into Rehoboth in 1991 and immediately fell in love with the Town. We like the open spaces, the friendliness of the people, the spirit of volunteerism, and the overall cohesiveness of the Town. In short, we loved living in a little town where everyone looked after one another. Twenty five years later and we have two wonderful sons who went through the DR school system, Boy Scouts, various sports, and are now pursuing BS degrees in engineering. Twenty five years later and I have served on the Planning Board, the Computer Committee, the Information Technology Advisory Committee, the Open Space Committee, the Gravel Committee, and served as an adult leader in Troop 13 Boy Scouts. Twenty five years later, Nancy and I still love the Town of Rehoboth, it's residents, and all the quirky little things that come with living here.
The next step is giving back in a way that is different than the previous positions I've held within the Town; I wish to take a more direct role in leading the future of the Town, using my experience as an engineer and my experience as a manager. We are at a point where we have aging infrastructure (Town Hall, Public Safety Building, and others), diminishing revenue streams (more State aid that was previously promised to the towns of Massachusetts is now being sucked back into the State coffers) and more State and Federal regulations that place an even higher burden on Town departments and especially the school system. The age-old method of dealing with this is simply to throw more money at it through higher taxes. I don't believe this is a real, sustainable solution as it leads to an ever increasing spiral in which the average tax payer is paying tens of thousands of dollars and can't afford to live here any longer. What I propose instead is:
• Better tools: We will provide Town departments with tools to work smarter, including software and hardware that allow them to more efficiently and allow our existing personnel do their jobs better and smarter. In my role as a member of the IT Committee we have started on this path and have improved the overall efficiency of Town offices and we have thwarted serious hacker attempts to extort money from the Town.
• Shared resources: In many cases there are other nearby communities or other Town departments that have a resource that can be borrowed temporarily so that we don't have to have duplicate resources within the town - think large construction equipment here. We can establish relationships that will allow inter-department and inter-community sharing of resources.
• Better asset management: Many of these woes that we have seen in the past with building repairs might have been avoided with better maintenance; we will concentrate on making building repairs before damage is done and before repair costs escalate. Concentrate on maintaining fleet vehicles better so that we get longer life out of our vehicles and equipment before we have to retire them. I am currently working together with the Highway Superintendent to improve the way we track vehicle and equipment repairs.
• Better project management: In my years of serving on Planning Board, one of the things we really got right was proper project management through better monitoring of construction, better management of warantees (we've paid for it once, why pay for it again?) and higher quality at the design stage by review of competent engineers. If we build it right the first time we can make it last longer and require less maintenance down the road.
• Better projection of resources: We live in a community in which we all have private wells and private septic systems; there is no city water upon which we can rely if our wells run dry or become contaminated. I am currently working with the Planning Board, the Board of Health, Water Commission, and others to create bylaws that would limit large developments that could endanger these resources.
• Better use of volunteerism: Rehoboth has traditionally relied on it's spirit of volunteerism to manage it's business, from volunteers on town committees and boards to contractors who have stepped in with large equipment when a dam was breaching or when a timely repair was required on a failed bridge. I would further encourage this by creating a portal in the Town's website and a system to manage requests that allows residents to make suggestions for needed repairs or for citizens and local contractors to help out.
I really believe that we can work together and operate Rehoboth more efficiently through better management and paying closer attention to details. If you feel, like me, that the future lies in working smarter, not harder then please consider voting for me for the Board of Selectmen. Together we can all enjoy twenty five more years living in a great community! Please visit my web page at www.electjimmuri.com and thank you for your consideration.