I am pleased to announce my candidacy for re-election to the Shelburne Selectboard. Six years ago, the night before I was first elected to the Board, a highly involved Wake Robin citizen sought me out personally before she decided how to cast her vote. She found me in the Community School during Town Meeting and insisted to know why Bill Smith was running for the Selectboard: “What was my agenda?” At the time the new VELCO line was the hot topic and she wanted to know my positions on that and other issues.
My answer to this individual remains unchanged after six years on the Board, the last as Chair: My interest is to provide service to our outstanding community and to take actions based on the public good after hearing and understanding all sides of the topic. As a society and particularly when involved in government, people are quick to position themselves and to promote personal agendas. Some do this without adequately learning the voice of their constituents.
My primary focus as Chair is to build consensus around the important decisions and opportunities we face in Shelburne. I value and intend to lead intense public discussions in order to draw out primary concerns that are then addressed in plans, decisions, and outcomes. Since becoming Chair a year ago, I believe our Board has made significant progress in this regard. I accept as true that to be most effective, we all must learn to know how and when to compromise individually for Shelburne’s collective best interest. Community giving and street lights are recent examples of this commitment.
Town government is complex. While the topics may appear uncomplicated, many divergent interests and unpublicized factors exist in our considerations and decisions. As a Board, we have a duty to consider the unique and often passionate needs and voices of taxpayers, landowners, businesses, conservationists, developers, growth backers, recreation advocates, animal lovers, health and safety voices, change proponents, and those that want to keep Shelburne the way it is. I am committed to do my very best to recognize and listen to your specific interests while making decisions that benefit you and your neighbors.
I recognize that our Board has made unintended errors. We did not ask enough questions to fully understand the implications of removing street lights when considering a policy and lighting efficiency plan and Grant in 2010. We failed to invite sufficient input before making this important decision. We all learned a great deal from this and have taken accountability. We are conscious that there is still work to do to balance our lighting policy, make amends, and most importantly, to ensure that we are more deliberate in reaching out to citizens before taking actions that affect you.
My hope when you cast your vote on March 6 is that you consider my overall leadership during the six years I have served on the Board and with our current planning. I am proud of my contributions to: improving our town plan; zoning regulations and processes; adding to recreational facilities and paths; improving the safety around the community school and in our parks; preserving highly valued open space; and in improving our infrastructure and maintaining our roads, buildings, equipment, and most importantly our budget. We have many important decisions in front of us including: managing growth, including traffic pressures and land use planning, particularly on the RT 7 corridor; safe paths to schools, especially CVU; sustainability of public facilities and services, including Fire, Police, and Rescue; keeping our town affordable; providing jobs for our children and economic opportunities for our businesses, and preservation of our character and quality of life including our open space. As your representative my goal is to lead public discussion around these and other important issues to reach the best conclusions possible.
Carol and I have tremendously enjoyed living in Shelburne for over 25 years and appreciate how the involved community has contributed to our lives and those of our children Molly and Taylor, now young adults living in Boston. We consider Shelburne “our” community and I am committed to serve it in the best way possible. Thank you for your support.
Bill Smith, Shelburne