When elected to the Select Board, David Atkins will increase transparency and promote civic engagement.
Westwood enjoys an outstanding reputation for our schools and solid fiscal management. We are a community where neighbors help each other. As we confront an uncertain future due to the lingering impacts of covid-19, it is even more important that our town government be working in consensus with residents’ needs. Our select board can ensure all the great things about Westwood continue by working in harmony with the many boards and departments involved in the operation of our town. Our Select Board has an important role to listen to different perspectives and then champion cooperation to keep our town strong and make it even better.
To protect our health, I will prioritize preserving green spaces and pursuing clean energy programs, like solar canopies on municipal buildings and over parking lots. These improvements will reduce our operating costs and decrease reliance on fossil fuels that pollute our community. I support hiring a sustainability manager and incorporating sustainability into the design process of all new municipal projects, not only to make them environmentally sound but to lock in long-term operational cost reductions and save taxpayer dollars. I will work with our Environmental Action Committee, town energy manager, and community groups like the Westwood Land Trust to ensure projects are beneficial and supported by the community.
To provide safety for residents in our neighborhoods, I will champion Westwood’s complete streets program to improve the safety of our crosswalks, build additional sidewalks, and support trails and pathways that connect our town. I strongly support building the Gay Street Sidewalk and moving forward with planning and design of the Canton Street multi-use path. I will work to identify funding sources and engage with residents at every step of the process to create lasting improvements that will benefit our town for generations.
To earn the trust of residents who question where their tax dollars are going, I propose a comprehensive financial planning process to engage residents in a workshop for participatory budgeting. I’ll listen to recommendations from town staff, from the Finance and Warrant Commission, and ask the other select board members to vote with me to create a steering committee similar to how the comprehensive planning process was conducted over the past two years to create our updated master plan.