Town Finances Center Of Westborough Candidates Debate

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Westborough candidates Timothy Dodd, Stephen Faris and Leigh Emery during a candidates night on Sunday. Photo Credit: John Swinconeck
Westborough selectman candidate Stephen Faris said the board overspent on recent building projects. Photo Credit: John Swinconeck

SHREWSBURY, Mass. — Selectman candidate Stephen Faris took the board to task Sunday, claiming it overspent on building projects and saying taxes are too high for Westborough families.

Candidates for the March 5 town election met at the Willows retirement community to introduce themselves to voters and talk about the issues.

Three candidates are vying for two selectmen seats: Challenger Faris and incumbents Leigh Emery and Timothy Dodd.

Faris said family incomes could not keep up with Westborough taxes and “more homework” should have been done to lower the cost of building a new fire station and renovating the Forbes building and Town Hall, projects on which he said the town overspent.

Emery defended the selectmen's record. “Our government is working very well right now,” Emery said, adding that the School Committee and other boards are working as collaboratively as possible.

She also noted that the tax rate is projected to fluctuate only 1 percent over the next five years, and that the town's debt is projected to continually decrease over the next 25 years.

Emery said her 10 years on the Finance Committee and nine years as selectman gave her the most experience about the inner workings of town government. She said she also knew about “the pain of living in Westborough” after experiencing a layoff and having a son move to Grafton because he couldn't afford the rent in Westborough.

Dodd also defended the the fire station project, noting that the current building is 122 years old. He noted that Westborough one of many communities in Massachusetts struggling financially.

Dodd promoted regionalization and said Westborough needs to examine what services and resources it can share with neighboring communities.

Other candidates who appeared at the candidates night, which was organized by the Westborough Democratic Committee, included:

  • Steve Doret and Bruce Tretter, running unopposed for two School Committee seats;
  • Jill Dupree and Bill Linanne, running for one three-year seat on the Housing Authority;
  • Helena Engberg and write-in candidates Kathleen Daly and Edward Baldwin, running for three seats on the library Board of Trustees.
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