As released to the press today:
I, Marianne LaBarge, am announcing my candidacy for Re-Election as City Councilor in Ward 6. I have served Ward 6 and in the City of Northampton since 1996. I will be completing my 7th term this year. I would be honored to serve my residents and City again.
I have been a Hands-on City Councilor who has worked with many residents in Ward 6 to reach a solution to their individual and neighborhood problems.
I feel as a City Councilor it is my Fiscal Responsibility to look at the Budget carefully. As a City Councilor I have had Ward 6 Budget Briefings with past and present Mayors at Ryan Road School for all residents of Ward 6.
- Our Budget constraints are my top issue.
- We need to re-evaluate spending priorities.
- We need to look at how to keep our business here in Northampton, and bring in New Business.
- As an example, we need to look at the Town of Hadley. They have new businesses coming in, helping them increase the tax base and lowering each property owner’s share of the burden.
- Conservative Taxing and Spending. This has been of great concern for many residents who feel that their taxes continue to go up on their homes due to the Tax Rate that keeps going up.
I have a passion for my City and for City Government. I have worked hard to listen to the residents with concern and compassion. Communication is very valuable and residents want to be heard. I have been a hands-on Councilor with a very strong voice, and that voice is strong because it comes with my residents’ support. I will continue to be an independent voice for the residents of Ward 6 and in our City.
Many residents felt due to the lack of communication from the City that their voices were being left unheard. Best Practices has opened this communication. As a City Councilor I supported a resolution promoting Best Practices in Northampton Decision-Making. This Committee undertook extensive outreach efforts to gather public input regarding experiences and concerns Citizens have had interacting with City Government. This has helped promote Citizen participation in local Government in order to be fair, transparent, and impartial, and in order to support the democratic process in Northampton.
Education is a priority that affects all of us in our City. What is the future of our schools? A question I have heard recently from residents is, ‘Are cuts being proposed in the city budget that will cut services for education?’
The Busing Issue has been a great concern for many residents with 2 to 3 or 4 children in a family. They can’t afford the Busing Fee. You now see many children being picked up by car pool or by walking with neighbors.
I have had many Ward 6 meetings yearly throughout my service as City Councilor in Ward 6. As a City Councilor I have sponsored many Ordinances and Resolutions that have given residents a better quality of life – acquiring the Quarry on Turkey Hill Road for Conservation Land, so no building would be allowed to change the character of that rural area. Preserving land for open space is also a priority of mine.
I also was a co-sponsor of an ordinance not allowing nude entertainment 500 feet from a school, home or church in the City.
I was a sponsor on the Drinking Water Protection Ordinance.
There have been many changes in our ward, more development, the reconstruction of Route 66. I was a hands-on Councilor throughout the two years to its completion.
The Ward 6 meetings have a lot of value and we all should take advantage of these meetings to establish positive communication and interaction with our neighbors – the goal being to provide a safe, quality environment for our families. On April 14, 2010 I organized a Ward 6 Community Meeting on “Overview of Fire Safety”. On December 9, 2010, I organized a Ward 6 Community Meeting on “Keeping Ward 6 & Our Community Safe”. In attendance was the Florence Hardware Store, Florence Lock and Key, and Foster Farrar Co. These were great educational events with lots of public interaction.
As a City Councilor I have put in place the first Neighborhood Watch Training, which was scheduled on January 22, 2011. This training was due to several break-ins that occurred in Ward 6. Twenty-one residents from different streets were trained to be Certified as Neighborhood Block Captains in Ward 6. The training was given by the Fire Department, Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, and guest speaker, our new District Attorney David Sullivan, and new Employee Mary Carey, who does Community Outreach.
I have also put in place for 3 years now, Help Safeguard Your Child, with free child identification kits.
I have sponsored several Ward 6 Get Togethers, Family and Friends, at the Hickory Dell Farm, where neighbors and families get together, socialize, meet new neighbors and get reacquainted with old neighbors. These events also included educational programs.
I have served on many City Council Committees.
I am proud to serve as a City Councilor in Ward 6 and in our City, a Community that strives to be tolerant and embraces diversity. I believe I have an obligation to my residents of Ward 6, and I will continue to be a persistent, tireless, and effective worker on their behalf.
Ward 6 City Councilor