Reminder Publishing sent both Westfield mayoral candidates identical questionnaires covering several topics of interest to voters. Answers are in the candidates’ own words and have not been edited, except for spelling and punctuation. Responses are listed in the order that candidates will be listed in the ballot: incumbent first, then challenger.
Today’s question: Are Westfield residents taxed too much or not enough? How will you approach your duty to recommend a tax split factor?
Donald Humason: My entire career in government I have fought to protect residents from high taxes and wasteful spending. I will continue to fight waste, inefficiency and abuse. In my short time as mayor, I have worked with my Council colleagues to deliver balanced budgets and a reduced property tax rate. Both my budgets have passed largely unchanged and nearly unanimously. My intention is to maintain the current tax split and continue to seek to reduce property taxes by promoting business growth and expanding the tax base. By welcoming businesses, large and small, we take the tax burden off all residents.
Michael McCabe: There are many factors to consider. How many services are provided? How is our school system? How is the public utility? How is public safety? Is the trash collected? What is the value of my home? Do I have disposable income? The issue is further complicated when assessments are considered. Recently, the tax rate dropped because of two key administration errors. So, from my personal station in life, taxes are not too high, but I understand why fixed-income folks struggle. If all of the preceding questions were positive, taxes are apportioned correctly and do not adversely affect businesses.
Pick up the newspaper every day from now until Saturday, Oct. 30, for more questions and answers with the mayoral, Ward 1 City Council and School Committee candidates. For previous questions and answers, visit thewestfieldnews.com/tag/election-2021. Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting is also available today at City Hall, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and daily through Oct. 29.