The Board of Selectmen serves as the chief executive board of the Town, and as such, oversees all matters affecting the interest and welfare of the community. The Board exercises the authority vested in the Town not specifically assigned by law to any other board or office.
What is your track record on environmental sustainability, including any related interests, experience, or initiatives?
[Marjorie R. Freiman] – I have, from the beginning, supported the creation, financing, and work of the SEC, as all environmental improvements in utilities beginning with ECMs in FMD to the work of the DPW and MLP. The board has one liaison to the SEC who shares information, upcoming programming and issues and developments with the other board members. I am pleased to be a participant in the food waste pilot program through the RDF and have spoken publicly encouraging others to participate. I had an evaluation conducted by Mass Save and have retrofitted and changed lighting and heating/cooling elements in my home. I am also a participant in the town’s Power to Choose program.
[Jack Morgan] –
– Supported acquisition by the Town of the North 40, rezoning of Rte 128 / Rte 9 interchange property for solar power farm and other actions leading to Green Communities designation, Gas leaks forum, inclusion of sustainability criteria in elementary school feasibility and design process, plastic bag ban among other initiatives
2. How do you see sustainability and climate change as factors in the development of policy for the Town of Wellesley?
[Marjorie R. Freiman] – There are numerous instances in which these issues enter policy discussions and decision-making at the board level. Working with Allen Hebert and Joe McDonough in FMD, Dick Joyce in the MLP and Mike Pakstis in DPW, as well as board members and Brandon in the NRC has given the board valuable insight into ECMs, customer behavior, centralized controls, changes to LED lighting, benchmarking and other factors to consider in building, infrastructure improvement, reduction of greenhouse gases, reduction of natural gas leaks throughout town, and more. The departments and boards are working together more and more, and the board is sharing information it gathers from other towns and boards and encouraging the collaborative nature of the cross-department work.
Mary Beth Martello in SEC is a visionary in creating projects and seeking funding to further these objectives, as seen in the successful Green Communities application and our pending grant application this year. Already, Mary Beth has ideas and a plan for where our next competitive grant projects will take us.
Last week there was consensus on the board that staffing costs for SEC should not be grant-dependent, but rather regular, budgeted, personnel costs. The board did not want to put funding for that critical work at the whim of a grantor.
[Jack Morgan] –
– As we move to the implementation or evergreen phase of the Unified Planning process, sustainability considerations will be among the key criteria in evaluating and prioritizing among new initiatives and future capital projects.
– In my opinion, our most intractable climate change related problems in Wellesley revolve around transportation and related greenhouse gas emissions. In many ways the Town incentives the use of private automobiles. Our school bus fee structures and access criteria are designed to minimize the cost to the Town of school buses and drive (pun intended) parents to drive their children. We have been unwilling to broadly invest local funds in creating a viable general bus network. We basically minimize the investment in sidewalks and have tolerated the loss of public sidewalks over the past 50 years to encroachment of private landscaping onto Town rights of way.
3. What specific initiatives related to the environment and sustainability should the Board of Selectmen undertake in your next term?
[Marjorie R. Freiman] – Adding a sustainability checklist in any building, remodeling, or renovation project will provide a standard vocabulary for all personnel and heighten our sensitivity to sustainable and green options. Our recent acceptance of a Complete Streets policy will enable us to broaden our transportation options and make the town more accessible to pedestrians and bikers, and will guide any work performed on streets, paths and sidewalks. Pursuing objectives highlighted during the Unified Plan process, seeking more opportunities for renewable energy and supporting the work of our staff and boards continue as priorities for the future. The board is encouraging the DPW to continue its benchmarking work with neighboring towns to capture metrics related to all facets of their work and analyze where there might be energy or cost savings, more sustainable business practices, or best practices to implement in town. The board encourages the NRC to pursue violations of encroachment on town land; the building department to increase enforcement of the tree bylaw; and the expansion of the food sharing and food rescue programs initiated by the SEC and Board of Health.
– Proactive approach to selectively acquire key properties within Town to enhance sustainable uses as well as open space
– Long term plan to gradually move to meet all Town government electricity needs through renewable energy
– Support sustainability criteria in the site selection and design of new elementary schools (and any other new Town buildings)
– Adopt a Complete Streets policy
– Plan and begin implementation of long term transportation initiatives to support public transportation (general, school, and senior), walkability and sidewalks, and biking.