My name is Joshua Moran and I am running for North Adams City Council. I grew up in Clarksburg, graduated from Drury High School, and graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering. I recently moved back to North Adams, after being away since I went to college. I lived in Rhode Island for five years where I worked as a project engineer and then moved to Utah for two years to ski and travel. I now call North Adams home, with my family - Amanda Chilson and our son, Race.
I am an advocate for nature and the outdoors. We are surrounded by vast natural resources that we have only begun to maximize. I want to advance the awareness and use of these natural resources for locals and visitors. These natural resources can help generate revenue for the City as well as help shape the youth of North Adams.
I am running for City Council because I believe in this city therefore I want to offer a balance of youthfulness and progressiveness. There is much discourse about the path our city is following yet there is more needed than just dialogue. I am willing to invest the time and effort to help us succeed. I have the energy and the motivation to help North Adams live up to its full potential and continue on its path of accountability and sustainability. I also represent a demographic of North Adams that can bridge its past to its future. Now that I have a family, I must think about more than just my needs and my future, but the needs of our youth.
1) What do you consider the city's greatest asset?
I believe the city's greatest asset is our natural surroundings. We have access to one of the most popular hiking trails in the world with the Appalachian Trail running through the city. Also with the north entrance to Mount Greylock our city offers a plethora of hiking, biking, trail running and skiing not found in the rest of the state.
2) What do you consider the city's greatest challenge?
Our greatest challenge is funding a quality educational system. Crime, economic development, population increase all comes back to education. Unfortunately, in order to balance the budget our school system has been stripped down to bare bones. In order to have a quality education, we have to be willing to pay for it. I think as voters we have to give voice to our youth who are most affected yet have little say in the educational system of our city.
3) How do you perceive the taxation question: Do you think they are too high/too low/just right? If the city has a spending problem, what should it cut? Should the commercial rate ($32.95, second highest after Pittsfield) be raised again?
Taxes are reasonable even including the water and sewer tax. I don't think the city has a spending problem, I think it comes down to the fact that we still have infrastructure, and maintenance for a city of 30,000 people, however,we only have about 13,000 people to pay for it currently.
Without going through the budget line for line, I am not sure of what we can cut, but I have confidence that most "fat" has been trimmed and the city is running very lean at this time.
The commercial rate is high enough, if we want the city to grow and prosper we cannot expect small business owners to set up shop in our city if the commercial tax rate goes any higher.
4) There are a number capital needs on the horizon, not least a new fire station and police station. How should the city address these needs? Should it forge ahead or wait until better economic times? If it waits, how can it manage in the interim?
There is always the chance that if the city waits for funding to become available, both of these stations could no longer be an option. We might have to look at the possibility of another proposition two and a half with the higher taxes being project specific. So the residents might be paying higher taxes but it will be going directly into making the city a safer place.
5) The North Adams landfill has been operating without a permit for years and needs costly upgrades. Should the city fix it or close it?
In order to fully answer that question, we will have to investigate the cost of the upgrades, also the cost if we do not upgrade and start receiving fines for operating an unpermitted landfill/transfer station, and lastly how much will it cost the residents. A cost comparison must be determined so that all avenues can be explored so that the residents receive the best possible rate to dispose of their garbage and recyclables.
6) Education: The design for the Conte renovation project is nearly complete. What do you think of the project? Should the city reconsider?
A newly renovated K-7 school would be a huge win for the city. The project is multifaceted as it takes care of a historic building that might otherwise have been condemned, the school's design is focusing on progressive learning and I think MCLA will be able to market it to potential students that in the city they are attending college they might possibly be able to intern at a state of the art school.
The city should not reconsider the school plans. A lot of time and investment have been put into the design and permitting of the building by experts at the state and local level. Also the public has put to rest whether or not the school should go forward with a yes vote last summer.
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