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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Berlin Mayor Candidates Differ Mostly On Growth Issues

BERLIN — Standing in the way of a third term for Berlin Mayor Gee Williams is Councilmember Lisa Hall, who has given up her elected position to challenge him in the Oct. 4 town election.

Williams was appointed mayor in 2008 after then-Mayor Tom Cardinale died. He was elected to the mayor’s seat later that year and has twice been re-elected to four-year terms in 2012 and 2016. Hall was elected to represent District 2 in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012.

Staff Writer Charlene Sharpe presented a few questions to each of the candidates this week and here are their responses.

Q. As mayor, how do you see your role in guiding the town’s future, specifically in regard to development and the possibilities of future annexation? Do you support annexation to grow the town’s population?

Councilwoman Lisa Hall
Hall: The only development, I can support, in the immediate future, would be homes priced in the $150,000-$200,000 price range. We desperately need housing in Berlin for the young families that want to raise their families in their hometown. Properties, in Berlin, are selling for approximately 35% more than other homes in Worcester County. We need to address the needs of the community in providing housing for our seniors and young families, so they can continue to live in Berlin.

Berlin Mayor Gee Williams
Williams: I firmly believe the town should continue to grow incrementally during the remaining decades of this century. Not grow willy-nilly, or allow anything to be built anywhere, or embrace every proposed annexation. But by using the proven principals of Smart Growth America we should grow and annex strategically and thoughtfully to make it possible to provide affordable housing for the majority of working families that are the foundation of Berlin. And to support growth, targeted annexation should also be considered to create opportunities that support thriving businesses and create good, stable jobs. I see my role as keeping a community conversation ongoing that seeks to balance economic opportunity and environmental responsibility. Growth and its impact on the quality of life are not an all or nothing situation as a few people try to portray these decisions.



Anonymous said...

You need a good job to pay for a $200,000 house. Or three not so good ones.

Anonymous said...

We looked for 3 years in the Berlin area for a decent house in that price range. Problem wasn't as much the prices of the houses, but the high cost of Berlin's taxes and utilities!