Dan Allie, Westfield City Councilor, candidate for State Representative
Welcome to Westfield.
As your City Councilor, I am committed to makingWestfield
the best place to live, learn, work, bike, play and retire.
Westfield City Council Votes to
Not Raise Property Tax December 15, 2016
The 2017 budget was the first time in 9 years, Westfield taxpayers did not see a property tax increase. Unless something is done taxpayers could be looking at a significant increase the 2018 and 2019 budgets
We are elected to represent every single person who lives in Westfield, from our city employees, teachers, children, next-door neighbors, retirees, to our parents and grandparents. We are one community, trying to make Westfield the best city to live in.
Working families, small business owners, single moms working 3 jobs, seniors trying to keep their homes, or city employees do not want to be lectured by politicians, who may live inside the bubble, or make a good living working for government or for unions.
Some people are trying to place the blame for Westfield’s financial situation on the wrong things such as, “taxes are going up because last year, for the first time in ten years, the city did not increase taxes”. Sorry, but that dog won’t hunt.
Let me make this as simple as I can.
If the city raises property taxes by 2.5%, it collects $1.7 million dollars. Property values have remained flat and Westfield is not growing like it was 10 years ago. As a result, we only collect about a million dollars in revenue from new growth each year.
Add those two numbers together. The Mayor or the city cannot spend 3, 4, 5 plus million dollars with 2.7 million dollars. We knew 16 months ago, the 2018 and 2019 budgets contained millions in new spending. A few councilors were willing to cast protest votes after the labor contracts were approved in 2016, in an effort to get the Mayor to give us the total cost of the increases for the second and third years. That way people would know how much these items would cost, in dollars. Percentages mean very little to most people.
When it became obvious the city could no longer afford to pay its 80% portion to the health plan, it should have done something we could afford that would help our employees, retirees, and not tax people out of their homes. Many city employees understand this, and say they would have accepted a combination of modest raises, premium holidays, (which save our employees, retirees and the city money.) No property tax increase is the same as a pay raise, even for people making $50,000 to $100,00 a year. It is not how much you make, it is how much you get to keep. We are elected to represent all the people of Westfield, not just the ones who can afford another $245 per year. Our city employees will tell you there are areas where the city can save money.
The Finance committee dealt with many “prior year” expenses. The city had to cover about a million dollars in Chapter 90 spending that was not approved by the state. Another problem is it costs too much for many things that government does. It cost the city $300,000 to replace “a decorative railing” that was falling down next to a 20-foot drop to the Westfield River. A traffic light costs $500,000.
The 2018 budget does not include enough funds for overtime for police and fire, police cars, snow removal, and there are other pressures on the budget.
I would have stayed in session as long as it took, and supported any sensible savings to bring the budget into balance. Just like last year, we did not have the votes to pass more than a few reductions. My name is the first item on the city budget, and we voted to cut city councilor’s pay. The second item is the Mayor’s salary. This is where some knees began to buckle. The largest “cut” was not a cut at all, since design work by the Engineering Department was likely to be funded through the use of Community Preservation funds.
People understand it is a bad idea to deplete the stabilization fund to cover operating expenses. Some councilors want to use stabilization funds, or blame a tax increase on members who don’t go along. We need to do something to remedy this situation, but placing the blame on the wrong thing is never the answer. There is an important question on the November 7th ballot. Be sure to vote. Your Voice Matters.
SHALL THE CITY OF WESTFIELD EXTEND THE TERM OF MAYOR FROM 2 YEARS TO 4 YEARS?
There is no upside to doing this. I was the only City Councilor to vote against putting this on the ballot, after i successfully killed an effort to send this to the Boston legislature as a "Home Rule Petition"
* IT WILL NOT SAVE MONEY. City elections will still have to be held every 2 years.
* GOVERNMENT IS BAD ENOUGH. You want your elected officials always to be mindful of the people having to face "regularly scheduled elections" either this year or next.
• VOTER TURNOUT WILL BE REDUCED IN OFF YEAR ELECTIONS. In 2011, when Dan Knapik ran unopposed, voter turnout was less than 20%. Do we really want 15% of the voters deciding our elections, with a Mayor with nothing to do but work to get a "friendly" city council?
Dan fought for increased funding for education and road maintenance, and got results.
Dan placed 2 questions on the local ballot seeking to restore Local Aid funding for education, and increase funding to cities for road maintenance. Charlie Baker promised to help cities hurt by these cuts.
Westfield receives $660,000 for road maintenance. 1/8/2015
Unfortunately, none of this money or Chapter 90 funds went to road maintenance, but instead went to the bike trail. The work on Papermill and Shaker Roads in 2015 was paid for using the "pothole funds" Gov. Baker released in response to the severe winter.
Westfield invests in new technology to turn "patchwork of potholes" into driveable roads.
Cold patch is a complete waste of time and money.
Dan was a strong advocate behind the effort to get Westfield to invest in "a truck mounted infrared technology unit" for pothole repair. This technology uses a small amount of new asphalt to turn a 6 x 8" patchwork of pothole repairs into a smooth driveable surface, that lasts for 7 to 10 years, thus reducing the need to repeatedly repair the same holes and hire outside contractors.
As a small business owner and manager, Dan knows how to promote people and grow jobs.
Dan Allie is committed to working to lower property taxes, control spending, reduce burdensome regulations and create a business friendly environment.
As a father, grandfather, homeowner, and concerned taxpayer, Dan knows family budgets are stretched to the max. Increasing property and other taxes hurt our economy and place a burden on working families and seniors living in their own homes. Dan is passionate about helping working families, small business owners, young people just getting started in life and seniors, especially those on fixed incomes.
1. Worked to Repeal Automatic Gas Tax Hikes.
We were told that if gas taxes did not go up automatically, our roads and bridges would fall apart.
That is simply not true!
First, our roads are falling apart despite the state passing a 12.5 billion dollar transportation bond bill in March 2013. The legislature approved 300 million for local road repair. Gov. Patrick cut this amount by 100 million dollars. This was the money Gov. Baker restored.
Second, this question did not affect the 3 cent increase in the gas tax, only automatic increases.
Dan was part of the first all-volunteer effort since 1991 to successfully place a question on the statewide ballot. Dan believes it is wrong to increase taxes without the vote of the legislature. That is taxation without representation. Any automatic taxing mechanism, called (Indexing) in Massachusetts is a dangerous thing. Dan gathered 1100 signatures to put Question 1 on the statewide ballot in 2014.
The Baker Review Board discovered much of the gas tax increase was being diverted to the MBTA, not to the roads.
2. Fighting to Restore Local Aid for Education
The Massachusetts State Lottery was created to provide local aid revenues to cities for education.
The state has taken 700 million dollars out of the Lottery Fund in the last five years. Westfield has lost a million dollars a year, for 5 years in a row, including 2013 when the state had a 900 million surplus. Cuts in Local Aid put a strain on municipal budgets and services, and leads to increasing property taxes, one of the most regressive forms of taxation.
3. Worked to increase funding to cities for Road Maintenance
In March 2014, the state passed a 12.5 billion dollar Transportation Bond Bill, but only allocated 200 million dollars for regular road maintenance, for the entire state.
Westfield collects 4 million dollars a year in vehicle excise tax, but has very little money budgeted to maintain 400 miles of road.
Dan wants to:
Let us keep more of our hard earned paychecks.
Lower taxes, reduce burdensome regulations, and grow our economy and jobs.
Stop taxing homeowners and businesses out of our city and state.
See tax dollars be used for their intended purposes.
Bring decisions about our children's education to the state and local level. End Common Core and high stakes timed PARCC testing.
Massachusetts does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.
Our state budget has grown by six billion dollars in the last five years.
April 2014, Boston State House – The Democrat majority voted not to allow any amendments or debate on local aid, education funding or EBT reform during the budget process. This is wrong.
On March 12th, our state legislature approved a local aid resolution for 2015 adding $25 million more “Unrestricted” local aid, and $100 million more for school districts across Massachusetts.
While this sounds like “great news”, the truth is it should have been more. After all, the money already exists in the Lottery Fund and the state had a significant surplus. Republicans proposed increasing the amount of local aid to $75 million and Educational funding to $113 million, but the majority party does not agree.
This was immediately followed by an increase in Registry fees and closing of registry locations. This was unnecessary. The Registry of Motor Vehicles takes in 600 million dollars each year, but only needs 60 million for operations. That is a 540 million dollar profit and service has never been worse. People must travel just to get transponders and the Registry no longer mails license renewal reminders.