Town Council candidate Maria Burge


Recorder Staff
Friday, September 08, 2017

GREENFIELD — Precinct 6 Town Councilor Maria Burge said after hearing widespread support from her constituents, she decided to throw her hat in the ring for an at-large seat on the council.

Burge, 67, has served on the council since January 2016 and said her priorities include addressing gaps in services for veterans and seniors and encouraging more economic growth in town.

“I have a lot of unfinished projects that have been brought forward in the council,” she said. “And even though I know I only have one vote, sometimes that vote makes a difference on which way the council is going to go. But I am an independent thinker, I do a lot of homework on issues.”

Burge was the first female and Latina officer on the Greenfield Police Department, and works per diem at the Franklin County Courthouse, where she retired last year as a court officer.

After leaving her job with the police, Burge was hired as a community liaison for the Greenfield public school system where she provided transition and language services for the Hispanic, Russian and Romanian populations. She also served on the Charter Commission, is a reader at Holy Trinity church and serves on the town’s Youth Commission.

“My service to the town has been always volunteering on any opportunity that presents itself that I know I need to be involved in, focusing a lot on the Latino community, bringing services like religious services mostly,” she said.

Burge said she spends a lot of time volunteering for seniors and veterans, and would like to focus on making more resources available to them — particularly home-bound seniors that don’t have a way of getting to medical appointments or the senior center.

“(There’s also) the financial piece — making ends meet, being constantly worried about being able to pay the taxes that keep going up,” she said. “I know I’m only one person, but if I can help make some decisions that can help these people, then I want to be here.”

Burge said she’s in favor of building a public safety complex, which she believes will be a savings over time due to the combination of resources. She said she would support a new library if the price tag were affordable for the town.

“I don’t like to spend money, and if something can be done with the minimal impact on the tax for the residents, then absolutely. I’ve been to the library, so I know the need, but also I think that it can be tailored to fit the pocketbook of this town,” she said.

Burge added that she thinks it’s a great idea to turn the former First National Bank building into a downtown cultural center, but wouldn’t support spending town money on the project at this point.

“There are priorities and I want to explore the gaps in the services we have now and support initiatives that are financially sound,” she said.