Snyder's Sandwich: Vitacco's Long & Winding Road
By: MARK SNYDER, May 23, 2014
Ralph Vitacco is aiming high as chairman of the Sandwich Board of Selectmen. In an extended interview with Snyder’s Sandwich, Vitacco said that first and foremost, he wants to see the roads get fixed.
“We looked at the roads and instituted the new plan for $1.3 million of capital outlay each year for five years. We need every board to agree, for the continuity of the project. My number one priority is funding the roads.”
He explains why they went for the $1.3 million each year, rather than the larger sum that a number of Town Meeting members voiced at the recent Annual Town Meeting. “Every time we went to fund a larger project, it failed at the ballot box. We decided to try a new plan. Being a banker, I call it the price-cost-average formula. We wanted to keep the tax rate about even, with no dramatic tax spikes. We wanted something that we were relatively sure would pass. We cannot afford to have a year that we don’t fund the roads,” he said.
The second item that Vitacco would like to see some movement on is a public safety building.
“Our public safety plan initially called for $30 million. I was on that committee. Our public safety buildings are in poor condition. That’s an agenda item we’ll look at with out-of-the-box thinking. Instead of a joint public safety building, we may look at it in pieces. Maybe we’ll start with a substation. We learned a lesson. Taxpayers don’t want large bills. That resonated with our board. We need to figure out how to fund it. It will cost from $3 to $5 million for a substation. We could do a possible bond for that and the roads, instead of a capital outlay,” the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod executive said.
He added, “People want to know, ‘Just how much is it going to cost me?’ We’ll look at bonds and capital exclusions, and capital expenditures and find the most palatable solutions.”
Looking toward the problem of beach erosion, Vitacco said, “We should be hearing pretty soon about the FEMA and federal grants. It’s looking positive. If we get only one, or neither, what’s the next step? My hope is we get the grants. But we’ll deal with either scenario.”
Another item close to Vitacco’s heart is solving the drug crisis on the Cape.
“I’m part of the Sandwich Substance Abuse Task Force. We’re looking at enforcement, education, and prevention. I’d like to revitalize it. We’re looking for funding from state, county and private grants. The task force is being restructured. We had 25 people. It was too large. We’re looking to make it a bit smaller. State Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich) has been a big supporter of ours. I’d like to see that get off the ground again.”
We wish the new chairman a lot of luck. And, we’ll keep in touch and let you know how he’s doing with his wish list.
RUMBLINGS AROUND TOWN
KUDOS TO THE BASH ORGANIZERS! I was so proud to be from Sandwich on Sunday. I ran into many out-of-towners who attended the BASH 1600’s event in Sandwich Village and they all came away highly impressed. From the Native Americans with their enthusiastic descriptions of canoe-building, cooking, clothes-making, and more, to the women spinning yarn in front of Sandwich Public Library, it was amazing. The Pilgrim costumes, sword fights, refreshments, and the Grist Mill and new fountain were big hits. And, I even saw an authentic politician, selectmen vice chairman Frank Pannorfi, in his natural habitat outside Town Hall.
THE CIVIL WAR & SANDWICH: Sandwich’s “Talk of the Town” Speaker Series on June 25 will feature Bill Daley talking about “Sandwich During the American Civil War.” The talk, which is free, takes place at the Sandwich Glass Museum’s Hirschmann Theater. Seating is limited and the doors open at 6:30 PM. The talk starts at 7 PM. Did you know that Sandwich was the first town on Cape Cod to raise a military unit for the Civil War, and had the first company to see live action? Before the Civil War ended, more Sandwich men had served and died in this conflict than any other town on Cape Cod. Daley will let listeners feel the impact the war had on our little town.
SANDWICH DEMOCRATS TO SPONSOR YARD SALE SATURDAY, MAY 24: The Sandwich Democratic Town Committee will sponsor a yard sale this Saturday, from 9 until noon, on the Sandwich town common (across from the fish hatchery, Route 6A.) Proceeds from this event support college scholarships for Sandwich High School seniors, and a range of community activities. Rain date is Sunday, May 25.
Mark Snyder, who has written more than 1,900 articles in newspapers and magazines, and published three books, is the CEO of PMPNetwork.com, the Internet’s entertainment superstation. Have a story idea? He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook (Snyder’s Stoughton), and on Twitter (MediaMan2009). Write him via snail mail at Box 639, East Sandwich 02537.