Ricketts (Precinct 5) wants to create new jobs, lower taxes
GREENFIELD — Precinct 5 Town Council candidate Penny Ricketts says rising property taxes, the need for more jobs and improving services for young and aging people are the three most pressing issues facing Greenfield today.
Ricketts, 54, of Main Street, said she would like to find ways to reduce the burden on taxpayers, but not at the expense of services.
She said job creation will be very important over the next few years. She said she would continue the path the town is on by voting tax breaks for expanding businesses when it makes sense and offering other incentives to businesses.
Ricketts said the young and old in Greenfield need incentives to stay.
“We have an aging population and limited resources for them,” she said. “We also have to figure out how to keep our young people here.”
Ricketts said she will be a good town councilor because she is honest and has integrity.
“I’m approachable and willing to work well with others,” she said.
“Often, candidates will say that they have experience with budgets,” she said. “Well, we all do. I have to live within my personal budget daily.”
However, said Ricketts, that is not what makes a good councilor.
“The city is full of paid professionals who have more experience with municipal finance than I or any other councilor, for that matter,” said Ricketts. “We are elected to listen and respond to citizens.”
Ricketts said making her home (town) a better place is what motivated her to run this year.
“I have volunteered in Greenfield for decades and now I want to take it to another level,” she said. “I feel that a voice is missing from the discussions. I want everyone to feel comfortable and respected coming before the Council.”
Ricketts said a huge issue in town, and one that needs to be resolved, is the addiction problem.
“The Council has limited direct powers when it comes to improving public safety,” she said. “Councilors need to use their contacts with state and federal leaders to lobby for funding.”
Ricketts said it is no secret that she is pro-growth in Greenfield.
“I have been pegged the ‘pro-Wal-Mart’ candidate,” she said. “That is ridiculous. I’m not pro-Wal-Mart. I am in favor of bringing additional shopping options to Greenfield so that Franklin County citizens can shop locally for all their needs and stop the constant flow out of Greenfield.”
She said she would like to keep partisan politics out of Greenfield.
“I think most voters understand this and vote the best local candidate, regardless of who they supported for president,” said Ricketts. “The candidates who run for office in Greenfield are committing to many hours away from home, attending various meetings and keeping in touch with Boston. We are neighbors, co-workers, sports and school parents. We are community leaders.”
Ricketts said that while she doesn’t believe there are any town departments that are over-funded, there are plenty that are under-funded. She said even so, the revenue is what it is and the town has to work within its means.
She said if elected, she will look at each mayoral appointment with eyes toward how honest and fair they are and whether they have integrity.
Ricketts said she wants the town to build both a skate and dog park, but how to pay for them is the question.
“I need to learn more about funding sources and how the Council can help,” said Ricketts. “Just saying I’m in favor of something does little to bring it to Greenfield.”
“Overall, I want those things that the majority of Greenfield wants,” said Ricketts. “We need to work together to lobby for the funding, work outside the box to creatively make things happen, and make a real commitment to each idea.”
“While I will not always agree with everyone on the Council, the bottom line is that the more we work together, the more the community gets involved, then our collective voice will make many ideas realities,” she said.
Ricketts said all town councilors should be working to market Greenfield and bring new blood to town.
“Our new high school is an important piece when businesses are looking to take root somewhere,” she said.
Town elections will be held Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Guiding Star Grange Hall.