Mayor candidate Q&A: What would you add to the budget?

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: What new program or service will you bring to Westfield in the next two years, and how will you fit it in the budget?

Donald Humason: I have been working with the Law, Health and Building departments, Police, and city councilors to create a code enforcement officer to handle nuisance complaints and ordinance violations that currently go unenforced. This position will free up departments to focus on their responsibilities while improving quality of life for residents. The position pays for itself by generating revenue through fines.

I have also been strategizing with the DPW about enhancing our city Tree Team so we can be more responsive to residents’ tree complaints and do the work in-house. This would be more cost-effective than contracting out the work.

Michael McCabe: I would hire an advancement officer, which is already in the budget, and hire a new Building Department assistant to help the director with her responsibilities. The advancement officer is already in the budget, and I would cut the second proposed full-time position in the mayor’s office. I view the Building Department as a constant problem for promoting business, because there are unnecessary delays built into the process. The second largest complaint I heard while walking the city was the perceived difficulties working with the Building Department. The department has been understaffed for years. I would fix it.

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. To add your thoughts to our coverage, send your letter to the editor to [email protected], or 181 Root Road, Westfield, MA 01085.

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.

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