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Why I am running for the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen

Bob Joyce Candidate for Chelmsford Selectman
Bob Joyce Candidate for Chelmsford Selectman
My name is Robert (Bob) Joyce and I am running for the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen. I have lived in Chelmsford for nearly 40 years, where my wife Rosemary and I have happily raised our two children Nelson and Andrea.

I have a B.S. in Business Administration from Northeastern University and I am currently employed at Sonus Networks in Westford.

I am running for Board of Selectmen because I love Chelmsford. This is a wonderful town that has provided my family with a great quality of life. As your Selectman I will work hard to ensure that all residents are able to enjoy the quality of life that Chelmsford can provide, including our town’s seniors who made Chelmsford what it is today.

Over the past few years Chelmsford has made substantial investments to improve our town. We have renovated The North Town Hall and Center Town Hall, both of which serve as great resources for our community. Two new turf fields and track allow residents of all ages to enjoy a safer sporting environment. A new center fire station headquarters and Department of Public Works building are investments that will provide improved services for many years to come.

As I talk with residents about my candidacy, the resounding message I have received is “tax relief”. Residents are weary of town spending and want to see a slower rate of growth of their property taxes. And they expect the Board of Selectmen to not only hear this message, but to be leaders and make “tax relief” a priority. I will bring business experience and 25+ years in local government to the Board of Selectman, and as your Selectman I will work hard to make “tax relief” both a priority and a reality.

My name is Bob Joyce and I pledge to bring accountable leadership, fiscal responsibility and transparency in town operations.  I respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday, April 1st for the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen.

Sincerely,

Bob Joyce
Candidate for Selectman

I encourage people who would like more information about my candidacy to visit my website, email me at bob_joyce@verizon.net or call me at (978)256-8267.


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Tom Gilroy February 23, 2014 at 10:21 AM
Bob, with all do respect to your platform, how to you propose to effect tax relief without cutting services, laying off town employees or reclassification, given that an increase in Chapter 70 funding is not likely to happen. What is your position regarding OPEB and the retirement of that massive debt?
Tyler Jozefowicz February 23, 2014 at 02:30 PM
For one, eliminate the 1.5 million fire truck (est) from the capital appropriation budget, and save the taxpayers $70 plus each from their property tax bill. The approx. $7.5 million new fire station is sufficient for now. another reason why there should be tax classification. The piece of apparatus is for use in high rise commercial situations. I understand that any classification delta would be miniscule. Nonetheless. All of these situations can be traced back to reductions in federal money to the states, so the cities and towns have to live with limited funding and cut drastically. Just what the Republicans want.
Pat Mullen February 23, 2014 at 06:19 PM
Mr. Gilroy asks the crucial questions that must be answered. What is on the horizon once the fire station is complete? Will they come back for more money for the DPW? I seem to recall there was supposed to be another phase to that project. And what about future projects at the schools? How are you going to navigate the desired (needed? Wanted?) improvements to the schools against a tax relief platform? I disagree with the notion that this is a federal funding issue or a Republican/Democrat issue. State aid, which was the primary funding source for all cities and towns in Mass. has been drastically reduced due to the lower revenues. This is all at the state level, not federal. And if it were a federal issue, then what is our 100% Democrat delegation doing in DC to rectify the situation?
Tyler Jozefowicz February 24, 2014 at 05:20 AM
Federal funding is the purview of Congress and the Republican US House controls the purse strings, not the MA delegation.
Chelmsford Man February 24, 2014 at 06:24 AM
Mr Joyce, I applaud you for trying to give the overtaxed residents of Chelmsford tax relief. This town is being overtaxed by Mr Cohen and most of the Board (not all, some are trying). The majority of the Board just agrees with Mr Cohen on everything and never questions him on the spending. The budget needs to be cut and classification put into effect. The argument against classification is that it will not amount to much...well it would be a start. Also, every year we see in the Manager's report that debt is forecast to be going down in the years to come. Does this ever happen? No! We just pile on more debt so it never goes down but almost nobody on the Board questions this. It is an uphill battle in this town to get spending under control when the Manager says that a $1 million cut in spending will "only" give the taxpayers a $70 reduction. Well, $70 is real money that the taxpayers could use but the Manager does not seem to think so. It is only a cup of a coffee but those cups of coffee add up to real money!
Vivian Merrill February 24, 2014 at 12:29 PM
I know there is a lot of concern regarding the tax rate. What may happen is that once you shrink the budget, and the people are laid off and the services are cut, residents will demand the return of these services. The easiest way to do that is to charge them directly, via a fee structure. Right now, I can write off my taxes on my federal tax return, I cannot write off fees. I'm already paying fees for school services-a $70.00 savings does not make up for paying 200.00 for bussing, 300.00 for a sport, and the myriad of other costs like field trips and school supplies in addition to my higher medical costs because of healthcare reform, higher heating and fuel costs, higher insurance costs, etc. I don't relish the thought of paying more for ala carte services. It doesn't sting as bad knowing that I can write if off somewhere. After the woodcrest fire, and knowing there will be future development, you would be hard-pressed to say you'd be comfortable cutting back on fire, police, DPW and school services.
Rob C February 24, 2014 at 01:29 PM
Easiest way to save money for the taxpayers would be if anybody had the guts to stand up to the unions. No more pensions, no more police details, no more gold level healthcare. Our public servants are paid more than a comparable job in the private sector, they can now get the same benefits as those of us in the private sector.
Townie February 24, 2014 at 01:45 PM
I totally agree with Chelmsford Man! Not enough is being done to control taxes. We need to cut heads - too many administrators and assistants and we need classification. If taxes continue on this course, no one will want to live here and we won't be able to sell our homes. We need a BOS that will stand up to Cohen.
Vivian Merrill February 24, 2014 at 01:47 PM
Rob, I think pension reform eliminated pensions for people hired after a certain date, and the healthcare I receive as a public employee has equitable co-pays to what people are paying in the private sector. I don't know enough about union negotiations to make any comment, however, the concessions I've seen are becoming more creative, and less about the money, because everyone knows there isn't as much to spread around. Unions are not eager to lose their membership to layoffs, nor are municipalities, because what you think you are saving in payroll and benefits you end spending in unemployment benefit costs. It's a double edged sword.
Rob C February 24, 2014 at 02:32 PM
As far as I am aware, pensions are still given to new employees. With the health insurance that the town supplies for employees, how much of the cost is picked up by the employee and how much is the town paying for? I know that I am paying about 50% of the cost of mine in the private sector. I know in the past that the entire cost has been picked up by the government, not sure if that has changed at all in recent times. Even though a union makes "concessions" they are not free and end up costing us taxpayers money in the long run.
Townie February 24, 2014 at 02:37 PM
Just looking at the Lowell Sun and apparently we plan on hiring an Energy Manager at $52K/year. More tax dollars wasted! Fully supported by Paul Cohen!
Bob Joyce February 24, 2014 at 04:11 PM
I believe we can help reduce the rate of growth of property taxes by not continuing to incur debt. This includes reducing the capital plan down to 2.5M. The Town Manager has stated that our debt will soon decrease. It is important that we are very careful to not allow new debt to take its place. This will take leadership by the Board of Selectmen to set priorities for the town. Regarding OPEB: this is a liability that the Town must address and I have been watching the Finance Committee meetings. I like the idea of the formation of an OPEB Study Committee (to be comprised of BOS, FinCom, SC, and citizens) to fully analyze various ideas and strategies for addressing the liability and funding sources. Tom Gilroy, I liked your idea of each department assuming responsibility for their portion of the OPEB liability, but the entire amount may be overwhelming for each department to absorb. But it is a great idea that should be fully vetted. If each department was held responsible for the new hire's OPEB liability, there may be different discussions regarding the viability of that position. Also, the State must address OPEB as well and we need to hold them accountable for assisting the cities/towns. Public safety is important and the new fire truck was a necessity. We cannot put the safety of our residents in jeopardy. However we should have looked at the possibility of using money out of the stabilization fund. The stabilization fund was created for such purposes ("immediate public safety or health needs"). I don't claim to have all of the answers. But I am willing to ask tough questions and I want a lot of discussion about important matters concerning the town. Great ideas come from multiple sources and we have become a town that accepts the status quo. As your Selectman I will help change that. Those who know me know that I am not affraid to speak up both at Selectman meetings and Town Meetings. If anyone has additional questions or comments, please feel free to call me at 508-517-1195 (cell). Thank you, Bob Joyce
Chelmsford Man February 24, 2014 at 05:53 PM
Mr Joyce, Mr Cohen says that the debt will be reduced every year but we just find a way to add more. We just added more debt for the energy services contract and of course the fire station. The Manager sees no problem in piling up the debt to levels in the past. Check his presentations the last few years. The debt is always projected to go down but it never does and nobody ever seems to notice.

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