Each year, the Milton Independent poses questions to candidates seeking elected office to better inform voters.
This year, five candidates emerged for four positions on the Milton Selectboard. Incumbents John Cushing and John Palasik are running for re-election to their one-year seats with no competition. They did not complete the Q&A before deadline Tuesday.
Two candidates are seeking the year remaining on outgoing selectman John Bartlett’s term: Brenda Steady and Chris Taylor. And Darren Adams is looking for another three years, unchallenged.
We asked the candidates three questions and asked them to provide a short bio with their responses. They were each given 400 words to split between the three questions:
1. Why are you running for selectboard, and what qualifies you for this position?
2. The fiscal year 2018 budget proposal uses $340,000 in fund balance to tamp down a tax increase, a practice the town has used for several years. If it continues, however, the fund balance will dry up by FY19. What do you propose the town do to avoid a large tax increase in FY20 while still providing needing services?
3. The town has embarked on recent efforts to improve aesthetics in the town core and to rewrite zoning regulations to better plan Milton’s future. What’s your vision of an ideal Milton, and what would make it achievable?
Editor’s note: Biographical information only edited for length, style and format. Responses edited only for AP style.
- Married to Allyssa Adams for eight years
- 6-year-old daughter, Brooke
- Airfield manager at Vermont Air National Guard, rank of master sergeant
- Bachelor’s degree in political science, Johnson State College
1. I’m running for selectboard for a fourth term to continue the work we have already started. Milton needs economic development to bring jobs, services and reduce the impact of property taxes. As the eighth largest town in the state, we need to work with job-makers to make Milton a destination for new investments.
2. Using a fund balance to reduce the tax rate has been a practice the town has used for a number of years. We had previously instituted a plan to eliminate its use. I’m confident we can do so with continued fiscal restraint. The only way the fund balance would be used is for us to overspend on the annual budget and under receive revenue, with that said we still have diligent with your money.
3. My vision for the future of Milton is a town that is safe, has good jobs and a wide variety of services for our citizens. I am part of a two-income family who does not have the time or desire to load my family up and travel to Williston, Burlington or St. Albans just to get dinner or buy simple items. Those opportunities should be here. In order to achieve this we must make Milton a town which job-makers are willing to invest. We have the population, we need to build the investment opportunity.
- Lifelong resident, married 36 years and raised two sons, Nate and Drew, in Milton. Granddaughter, Sophia, is enrolled in the Milton Town School District.
- Milton High School and Champlain College graduate
- Work for AW Rich Funeral Home, Winooski School District, B&B Cleaning Company and Spherion Staffing
- Many years of community service including: Implementation of kindergarten in the public school system committee, combining the school and town charter committee, school volunteer while children were in school including coaching middle school boys’ basketball and Odyssey of the Mind and PTA. Served four years on the United Church of Milton Council.
- Member of Eastern Stars Chittenden Chapter #59
- Justice of the peace for 14 years. Nine years as school trustee. One year served on selectboard.
- Potter’s Angels Rescue and Passion4Paws foster volunteer
1. I am running for the Milton Selectboard because I like to stay involved, and I believe the decade of knowledge I acquired from serving as a school trustee for nine years and as a selectboard member for one year gives me an insight into the operations and nuances of municipal government. I have experience in building a fiscally responsible budget.
2. The practice of using $300,000-plus of existing fund balance to lower taxes has gone on for many years. In some years when the audit was completed, it was found that the money was not used. In other years, some of those funds were used. This practice has provided a buffer for expensive years when there is lot more winter road maintenance. As a member of the selectboard, I would advocate reducing the dependence on the fund balance to reduce taxes over several years so that there would not be a dramatic increase in the tax rate to make this happen. However, it would be wise to maintain some fund balance, as advised by the independent auditor. This would provide the buffer needed for those above average expense year.
3. I think improving the aesthetics in the town core is a wonderful idea as long as the cost stays within the limits of the approved dollar amount by the voters. My personal vision is to see trees installed along the town core while providing a pedestrian-safe environment. While new zoning regulations are being considered, I believe that existing uses need to be protected. In closing, I guarantee that my individual decisions will be based on community input and will be fiscally responsible. Thank you in advance for your considering me for your selectboard representative!
- Lived in Milton for 10 years with wife, Jennifer, and two children, Lauren (9) and Michael (7)
- Bachelor of science in public relations from Champlain College
- Work for Milton Town School District
- Past community involvement as a coach for the Milton Little League and leadership roles with the Milton Pack 43 Cub Scouts
1. As a selectboard candidate I would bring my skills and work experience to serve the Milton community. I have over 20 years of business management experience from large national companies to small family owned Vermont businesses. My responsibilities included developing and adhering to multi-million dollar budgets and explaining both positive and negative budget variances. I was often tasked with making difficult decisions in order to support advancement and business growth. To do this, I would always look at all sides of a situation with an open mind and then use the information I gathered to make an informed decision.
2. One way that we can help to prevent a large tax increase in the future is by attracting businesses to help bring in more revenue and increase the town tax base. The town needs to find a balance and start attracting businesses that will bring in positive revenue without negatively draining the resources of the town. If we are able to create more assets on the tax list, we will be able to better offset and distribute the town operating costs and lessen individual tax burden on the residents.
3. My vision of an ideal Milton is a town that is incurring positive and valuable growth without losing the special sense of community that is present today. I envision a community where we could work, shop and be entertained without having to bring our money to other towns. A way to help achieve this is by continuing to move forward with improving the aesthetics of the town through the Route 7 corridor. Businesses are looking for a welcoming environment when making decisions on where they want to locate and attracting new business will provide our area with much needed resources and revenue. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of Milton, and I ask for your vote on Town Meeting Day. Thank you!