State Of The Town: "Unity Is Our Strength"
By: Laura M. Reckford
It was a night of pageantry, music and song, of honors and standing ovations bestowed to local citizens, and a hopeful message for the future from Barnstable Town Manager John C. Klimm. It was the ninth annual State of the Town Address and it attracted a standing-room-only crowd at the Knight Lecture Hall at Barnstable High School last night.
Following tradition, Mr. Klimm began by honoring several local families with the Barnstable Award: Dennis and Barbara Kelley of Hyannis; Joseph and Dolores DaLuz of Hyannis; and Richards and Susan French of Barnstable Village.
The Kelley family was honored for their sacrifice in having two sons serving in the military. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Andrew Kelley is serving in Afghanistan, and Marine Corps Corporal Patrick Kelley, will be deployed there in the fall.
Mr. Klimm said the Kelleys are a family “whose core values include a love of family and a generational commitment of patriotic service to this country.” Dennis Kelley also served in the military, as did his father before him. As to the DaLuz family, Mr. Klimm said, Joe and Dolores DaLuz have “led the struggle for civil rights and social justice in our community for decades.” “Theirs is a story of courage and honor and morality and decency and determination and leadership. Theirs is a story of struggle that has brought our community together. The story of unity through struggle. A story of lessons for us all,” Mr. Klimm said.
Mr. Klimm also honored Richards and Susan French of Barnstable Village, who volunteer in a variety of ways, helping with hospice, Sandy Neck, the Citizens Leadership Academy, and civic associations and charities, among others. Mr. Klimm said, “Theirs is a record of public service which has lessons for us all.”
As to the financial state of the town, Mr. Klimm said, the good news is that Barnstable is one of only 17 towns in the commonwealth to be given a AAA bond rating, the highest a town can receive. The town gains strength from its dedicated employees, he said.
Mr. Klimm laid out a five-point action plan designed to keep the town financially sound; keep the community safe; improve and increase the amount of information available to citizens, put Barnstable in the forefront as a Green community; and work on economic development..
Referring to the “budget busters” in the community, Mr. Klimm said the town needs to address wastewater issues to protect public health, drinking water and coastal waterways in a fair way. He said the town must also address the repair of its private roads. He hopes to link those two in a financial plan that he presented to the town council at a recent workshop.
In the area of public safety, while citizens answering a recent survey said they felt crime had increased, Mr. Klimm presented the actual numbers. He said violent crime has actually gone down 2 percent in the past year in the town of Barnstable and property crime has gone down 20 percent. But because perception of crime is up, Mr. Klimm said the Barnstable Police Department will expand outreach with neighborhood groups and village associations. Also regarding public outreach, Mr. Klimm said, there are plans for more expansion of the town’s television programming, with new town department-based programming through 12 employees who agreed to be trained in television broadcasting.
The town’s Green agenda is ratcheting up, Mr. Klimm said. The town is moving ahead with a major one-megawatt solar and wind project at its Water Pollution Control Facility. A solar installation is planned at the town’s schools. And this year, the town will pursue, what Mr. Klimm called, “A second major renewable energy generation project at another town facility, much larger than anything we have done to date.”
Mr. Klimm also spoke of expansion of economic opportunities and said the town is working with business leaders to push for “an economic development agenda.”
The new program will be called, “The Barnstable Downtown Initiative,” and Mr. Klimm said, it will work with property owners and would-be investors on a daily basis.
Also, a major arts initiative, the Hyannis Pearl Street Arts Institute, will begin next year, he said.
Mr. Klimm ended his speech by encouraging citizens to get involved. “”We cannot address these issues in a vacuum. We need your help,” he said.
Leave a Reply
In order to comment you need to be logged in.