Westfield Leader: Westfield Ward 4 Candidate: We Need To Reassess Priorities For Road Repair

WESTFIELDLEADERLOGO1000PX.pngAs I’ve been knocking on doors throughout Ward Four, I’ve met many residents of our neighborhood. As these residents talk with me in the doorways of their homes that are meticulously and lovingly cared for – from the colorful flowers that line the walkways, to the whimsical doorbells and charming cus- tom mailboxes – a common theme of our conversations is the degraded condition of the streets in our neighborhoods. Of- ten, the streets that these immaculate homes sit on are in disrepair. The roads we live on simply do not reflect the value of the homes that line them, nor does our tax burden explain the lack of services being provided. Some residents have even expressed their embarrassment when guests who visit from other towns see the condition of our streets.

As I’ve been campaigning through Ward Four, I inquired how residents with newly paved streets were able to accom- plish that. They told me about petitions that needed 30 signatures. They also told me that residents contributed half the cost of the paving. Indeed, this instruction is on the town’s website. What? Aren’t our taxes supposed to pay for that? 

After consulting with other towns, they appear to have very well considered and executed plans in contrast to Westfield. It is clear to me that we need to reassess completely the priorities for road repair. The onus should not be on homeowners to determine which streets need atten- tion. And residents should not need to advocate, petition or pay for the paving of our roads. This is what our tax revenue is for. We lack the impetus and imagination to consider an ambitious review and ini- tiative not only catch up on repairs but restore our streets to the standards com- mensurate with the beauty and value of our homes. 

Additionally, we need an ordinance to protect the streets that are finally com- plete - If you are one of the lucky ones who gets your street paved, it’ s likely you waited for years before it happened. Ha- zel Avenue has not been paved in 42 years! Currently, Westfield does not have an ordinance in place to protect the long -awaited accomplishment of a newly paved street. Ridgewood, for example, protects its newly paved roads for five years. We should too. This is a simple correction to our code which will pre- serve the value and longevity of the cov- eted freshly paved streets. It is my plan to shed a light on the logical and proactive ways other towns function, and to high- light the many areas of potential im- provement to processes here in town. Make no mistake – Westfield is a great town. But there are things we can do better.

Dawn Mackey, Westfield Ward 4 Council Candidate

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