Sentinel & Enterprise
Posted: 11/01/2013 06:35:16 AM EDT
Seventh of eight profiles for candidates vying for five open councilor-at-large seats.
By Alana Melanson
FITCHBURG -- Councilor-at-large candidate Kevin Lynch says he's running because he thinks the citizens have been short-changed on property-, water- and sewer-tax increases and that too many things that have contributed to these increases have been rubber-stamped by the council.
Born and raised in Boston, Lynch said he has lived in Fitchburg on and off since 2001 and full-time since 2006, and wants to see the city managed more like a business.
He said he agrees with hiring an economic development manager, as the council recently approved, but believes that person won't be very effective if the city doesn't take other measures to make itself more marketable to businesses, and that councilors should have a large role in that. Lynch said taxes and utility rates need to be lowered to make Fitchburg more competitive with its sister city Leominster and bring in more businesses to increase the tax base. He believes any revenue shortfalls that would result could be made up by first by the stabilization fund and later by increased revenue from additional businesses coming to the city.
"Now is the time to change the tax rate," he said. "If we're serious about bringing businesses into Fitchburg, we need to make bold moves."
Lynch said homeowners need relief from high taxes and he would like to see assistance given to the elderly and disabled.
He believes more police officers are needed in the city, but that the money to fund them can come from re-examining and rearranging the existing police budget, rather than "rubber-stamping the police contract." He said the hiring of the next police chief will be crucial to determining the direction the city takes in addressing crime.
Lynch said the city needs to address its pension and health care liabilities and stop deferring these items and road maintenance, leading to greater costs in the future. He also believes the city needs to take some responsibility for damage that occurs to residents' vehicles from continually driving down roads full of potholes.
He said the city needs to pursue more infrastructure grants and establish better access to Fitchburg from the highway.
Lynch said he would like to see more youth initiatives and programs put in place that start children interacting with law enforcement and public
Address: 48 Cedar St.
Family: parents, Roberta and Joseph Lynch; brother Joseph Lynch Jr. and nephew Joseph Lynch III
Education: Catholic Memorial High School, West Roxbury; associate degree in business, Mount Wachusett Community College; additional business coursework
Political experience: ran for mayor in 2011
Greatest political influence: U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch
How the city will be better in two years if I am elected: "I think I would be beneficial to the council because I'm very proactive and I would keep the fire to their feet and put the issues out to everybody. I have no favorites."
safety figures early to help them form positive aspirations rather than join gangs.
In 1992, Lynch was one of a group of people arrested in connection with a fatal beating in Boston. He took a plea deal and served seven years for manslaughter, but maintains his innocence in the event. He said two others who went to trial were found not guilty, and another is serving life in prison without parole for first degree murder. Lynch said he was a heavy drinker at the time of the incident but has not touched a drop of alcohol in 20 years and never will again. He said he now helps others to become clean and sober.
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