It is the issues of the Constituents that matter most, and will take priority with Melissa as she serves Falmouth voters as Selectman. Amongst the most important are:
Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development
Environmental Protection and Waste Water Solutions
Affordable Housing and Smart Growth
Educational Funding and Excellence
Fiscal Responsibility... In the current economic climate, we must be more fiscally vigilant than ever. With the real potential for lost Commonwealth aid, budget cuts are possible. We need creative solutions to help us continue to balance our budget while maintaining essential programs. A broad perspective is needed in seeking efficiencies and trimming selectively as a first step in tightening the budget. Supporting economic growth in our traditional sectors such as tourism, small business, health care, research and technology, while encouraging growth in new market sectors, will generate new revenues for Falmouth. Comprehensive capital planning also needs to occur in transparent fashion. As a fiscally responsible citizen, and one who understands that it’s “really all about the bottom line,” Melissa will work with others on the Board, the Finance Committee, and in Town Hall to ensure that Falmouth’s budget remains balanced.
Environmental Protection... must occur at both the Local and Global levels. As an ecologically sensitive area, Falmouth must be vigilant in protecting our fresh water supply. Reducing nitrogen loading and constructing sewers are important to preserve both fresh and salt water resources. We must acquire and maintain Open Space, and zone to protect our natural resources.
Waste water treatment is a pressing and important issue in town, and the potential costs are enormous. Melissa’s balanced objectivity will help the town make the most economically and environmentally sound decisions.
With over 80 miles of coastline, Falmouth is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The Commonwealth has outlined guidelines to reduce carbon output, but to mitigate climate change, communities need to do more. Falmouth belongs to ICLEI, an international council of Local Governments for Sustainability. We need to implement our “Falmouth Climate Action Plan”, drafted with data generated from energy audits conducted with ICLEI’s assistance. Reducing resource consumption, as well as transitioning to modern energy solutions, simultaneously reduces pollution and energy costs. We need to grow sustainably.
Nicole Friedler Photography, Vineyard Haven
Affordable Housing... Falmouth needs to be affordable to the people who work here. If we wish to keep our community healthy and diverse, we need to generate jobs and provide housing opportunities for successive generations. Implementing our new Affordable Housing Action Plan should take high priority in town planning and investment. The benefits of 40R and Smart Growth need to be championed. Balance between affordable development and open space must be sought in each potential housing solution. The Commonwealth mandates that each community has 10% of its housing stock be deeded Affordable. Falmouth slowly approaches this goal, but we need to do more to stem the tide of 40B development. Growth and development are positive factors in life, so long as they are undertaken sustainably and with reason.
Educational Support... We must maintain our investment in education to increase academic excellence and create skilled workers and entrepreneurs to keep Falmouth a viable community and maintain our economy. We need to offer a stellar K-12 education program to attract and keep families with school-aged children. Always an advocate for children, Melissa will guard our educational system and encourage sound funding for sound pedagogy. Let’s continue to raise Falmouth’s children to be responsible citizens and civic participants.
Melissa Freitag comes from a family with a tradition of serving the community, from ancestors who chartered one of the first Massachusetts towns, through parents who served on Finance, Planning, and School committees. A longtime Cape Codder, Melissa embodies what it means to serve. It is now the time for Melissa to continue her career of service at a higher level – as a member of Falmouth’s Board of Selectmen.