In the lead-up to to Burlington's town election this Saturday, April 6, Burlington Patch interviewed the three candidates for the two open seats for Board of Selectmen.
We asked each candidate the same five questions. The following is based on our conversation with Virginia Mooney. Visit Burlington Patch's homepage to find the interviews with incumbent Robert Hogan and candidate Christopher Hartling.
The Burlington Town Election will be held this Saturday. The polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Burlington High School.
Mooney has been a Town Meeting member for 36 years and was a member of the Board of Selectmen from 1988 to 1991. She has also volunteered on the Housing Partnership Committee, the Burlington Finance Committee and the B-Line Advisory Committee among other positions. She has also held state appointments, including the By-Law Review Committee and spots in the Democratic party and she has volunteered for many organizations in town.
What made you decide to run?
"I’d like to change some things at Town Hall if I can," Mooney said. "I’d like to see some changes in how we do business."
What do you see as the biggest issue coming up for the board?
Mooney said she thought the biggest issue facing the town were related to controlled substances, liquor and the newly legalized medical marijuana.
"The liquor licenses are a problem right now," she said. "We are constantly pushing for new restaurants. But other towns in the area are also trying to attract restaurants. We are building too much on having restaurants and using liquor licenses to make tax money. In the long road we will be overloaded and if we are overloaded the restaurants will leave because there will be too much competition."
Mooney added the town needs to focus on other types of business development.
"We need to diversify in Burlington," she said. "We can't rely on one thing. That’s tunnel vision and that’s what we have planned for the next five to ten years."
What is something you’d like to accomplish in your first term if elected?
"I'd like to see us finish some of the things we've been working on for a while now," she said. "I'd like to see Fire Station Two refurbished and for the new DPW building to go on the Canyon property, so it's out of the reach of the aquifer. I'd try to get those finished."
Mooney said she'd also like to see the town hold off on bonding for other projects.
"We’re bonded now with the schools," she said. "We pretty much bonded out. Things look good now but will they be as good in the next few years? We don’t know. I think we should be more frugal just in case."
What do you think of the FY13 balance of the town’s split rate tax, which is set at 11.85 per $1,000 for residential and for 31.70 per $1,000 commercial?
"I think it’s a good balance," Mooney said. "The industry and commercial side should pay more and I think every resident would agree. Burlington is drawing companies because we’re centralized. I don’t think we don’t have to worry about them not coming in, but more about overloading as we have been."
There was a recent vote by the board to allow a liquor license for a convenience store that was controversial. What do you think about the decision?
"I was pretty upset about that," Mooney said. "I was hoping they would renege on that and pull it back. I would not have voted in favor of that."
Mooney said she thought the town has enough liquor stores.
"We're turning ourselves from Burlington to 'Boozington' and I don’t think a lot of people like that," she said.