District 1 City Council candidate Charlie Sisitsky
District 1 is Precincts 1 and 2.
Editor’s Note: If a question is blank, the candidate did not answer it.
Occupation: Retired Director of Public Works Town of Natick
Years lived in Framingham: 46
Family (optional): 4 children that went through the Framingham School system and have 8 grandchildren, 2 of which are attending the Framingham Public Schools. Since 2013, married to Robin Kaye whose 2 children also attended the Framingham Public School.
Municipal experience: Former Director of Public Works and Planning Director, Town of Natick, Former Director of Planning and Community Development, City of Medford, MA, Framingham Selectman 1998-present, Former Finance Committee Chairman, Former Town Meeting member and Potter Road School PTO
Volunteerism: Founding Board Member, Hoops and Homework, Community Connections 2000-present, Metrowest Growth Management Committee 2000-2003, Framingham Youth Commission 1982-1984, MetroWest Jewish Day School 2006-present.
In less than 100 words, why should someone vote you to represent them as a City Councilor?
My over 40 years of professional municipal experience along with nearly 20 years as a Selectman will be invaluable to the City Council. It is crucial that the new government has seasoned veterans who understand the intricacies of municipal finance and the operation of municipal governments to guide the transition.
In less than 100 words, describe your district: District 1 is made up of bucolic large tracts of open space to the west, combined with residential, retail and higher density areas as you travel east. Within the district there are sites that are in different phases of development, which need to be monitored. It is an incredibly diverse and desirable area.
Website or Facebook page link: www.facebook.com/CharlieDistrict 1
Editor’s Note: Candidates were asked to provide one-word answers only. If there is no answer the candidate did not submit a response.
From the candidate: I have chosen not to answer all of the one-word answers because I believe these are important questions that deserve a more detailed explanation to be put in the proper context.
How much would you vote to increase (or decrease) the tax levy in your first year of office?
What business is needed in your district?
What amenity is lacking in your district?
Should Framingham become a sanctuary city?
Do you support saving Nobscot Chapel?
Would you support the creation of a dog park in Framingham? “enthusiastically support”
Should the dog park be located in your district?
Would you support the construction of a splash pad in Framingham?
Should the splash pad be located in your district?
Do you support a split tax rate for businesses and homeowners?
Would you vote for a debt exclusion override to build a new school in Framingham? As chairman of the Fuller School Building Committee I will advocate for a debt exclusion
Do you support Framingham State purchasing the Maynard Building for its new partnership with Danforth Art? “I do support this.”
What is your favorite place in Framingham? (just one): Cushing Park.
What is your favorite place in your district? (just one): Garden in the Woods
Editor’s Note: Candidates were given up to 350 words to answer each question. Answers are copy & pasted into this report.
QUESTION #1: In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you go about fixing it as a city councilor?
One of the key issues for District 1 is ensuring that underdeveloped sites are appropriately developed with balanced uses that serve the surrounding neighborhoods. The City leadership must undertake serious outreach to the owners of underdeveloped parcels in the District and work with them and the neighborhoods to reach a consensus on the future use of these parcels and determine, what, if any, zoning adjustments and infrastructure improvements need to be made to facilitate new development.
QUESTION #2: The Framingham Public Schools represent more than 50 percent of the total budget for the community. Would you support a level-funded budget, a level service budget, and increase in the school budget or a decrease in the school budget? Why?
I am a long time supporter of the Framingham Public Schools and have been involved for many years in ensuring that the Framingham school district receives the funding that it needs. There is no doubt that increasing enrollment puts pressure on the school district’s budget. We will need to seek out every available grant and fight back on unfunded mandates and look to improve the delivery of services, both in the city’s operation and the school district. I have and will continue to advocate for the needs of the students and staff. I look forward to the opportunity to work with the new Superintendent and the Mayor to reevaluate the needs and finances of the school district.
QUESTION #3: Traffic is a major issue in your district? How will you work with the neighborhood, other city councilors, and the new mayor to solve the problem.
Traffic is an issue throughout Framingham. As the Selectmen’s representative to the Traffic and Roadway Safety Committee for many years I have actively advocated for traffic solving remediation. I have helped many neighborhoods throughout the town deal with their traffic problems. I was the primary force in getting the town to adopt a traffic calming policy that has been utilized in District 1 and has been proven successful. I would also work closely with DPW to ensure that road work projects are coordinated to limit the impact on multiple areas at the same time and ensure that local businesses remain accessible during these construction projects
QUESTION #4 – Do you support the proposed plan for Nobscot plaza? Why or why not?
At the present all we have is a concept plan that was discussed at a neighborhood meeting with the property owner a number of months ago. Before there is a plan that I can take a position on, there needs to be much more dialogue with the owner and the neighborhood as to what the proper balance is of proposed uses. I expect this conversation to take place in earnest after the new city government takes over in January.
QUESTION #5 – What is your view of open space vs economic development for your district? Do you have the same view for the City of Framingham?
With regard to open space, I have been a driving force in advocating for land-use tools such as Transferable Development Rights (TDR) to steer development to more appropriate areas of the city that have the capacity and infrastructure to accommodate new development. I have been closely monitoring the two major proposals in and adjacent to District 1 to ensure that they will be appropriate and acceptable to the surrounding areas, with minimal disruption and cost to the City. I will encourage the City Council to also look for opportunities to purchase open space with the use of grants and participation of other agencies. This applies to not only District 1, but to all other areas of the City of Framingham.
QUESTION #6 – Your district is home to some of the last remaining farms in Framingham? What will you do to as a city councilor to preserve the agricultural history of Framingham?
I will continue to work hard to preserve the large tracts of open space and farmland in the district. These historical agricultural areas are important and contribute not only to the diversity and beauty of Framingham, but also to the quality of life and support the economy by being a resource for local produce.
QUESTION #7 – Do you think Framingham is family friendly? Why or why not? What would you do to do make the community more inviting to families? What can be done in your district?
QUESTION #8 – In the last 18 months, the Danforth museum and art school was evicted from its home of decades, the Framingham Artists Guild had to find a new home, and recently dozens of artists including the Fountain Street Fine Arts gallery have left Framingham. How would you support the arts in Framingham as a city councilor?
The fact that these art institutions and artists needed to relocate came about as a result of a series of unique circumstances. I have worked with the Board of Selectmen (BoS) to mobilize various public safety and permitting agencies of the town to help the Fountain Street Artists deal with the code violations and facilitate the transition to new locations. The Danforth Art has been a jewel in this community and has been consistently supported by the BoS. I have participated in hours of discussions looking for ways to ensure that the museum continues to be a vibrant part of the fabric of our community and would continue to do so as a city councilor. I hope that this situation will result in a positive solution at the Special Town Meeting in October.
QUESTION #9 – As a city councilor how ill your help bring new businesses to your district and to the community?
One way would be to implement a comprehensive one-stop shopping approach to make it easier for owners to obtain all of their permits and licenses in one location instead of running all over town to pickup and file forms and plans. I would also make sure that the planning and economic development department and the EDIC work cooperatively with businesses looking to expand or relocate to Framingham. As a member of the BoS I was actively involved with the efforts to grant TJX a tax increment financing package as an incentive for them to expand in Framingham and gave similar support to Jack’s Abby. Both of these companies have grown substantially and have become destinations for people in and outside of Framingham. These are some of the success stories that I hope to build upon as a city councilor.
QUESTION #10 – How will you make sure that residents in your neighborhood have a voice in the new City of Framingham, if elected? Give specifics.
As a Selectman for nearly 20 years, my constituents know that I have always been open, available and responsive to any of their concerns and issues. I see a job from start to finish and provide quick and detailed information. I am accessible through email, Facebook messages, and my phone numbers have always been and will continue to be readily available. Additionally, I plan on instituting District meetings and where appropriate will invite other members of the City government.
QUESTION #11 – Your have a large geographic district, includings apartment and condo complexes, how will you get residents in your neighborhood more involved in their community?
I look forward to continuing my engagement with the community. As I have previously stated I plan on having District meetings to monitor the issues and concerns in all of the residents in the neighborhood. I would work with the Mayor to appoint quality candidates in District 1 to fill the numerous committee positions.
QUESTION #12: Framingham is a community of full of social, economic and cultural diversity. What can you do as a councilor to not only represent your district but to the bring the nine districts together as one City?
For the past 20 years as a member of the Board of Selectman I have always represented the entire town of Framingham, and expect to do the same as a city councilor. While my focus will remain in District 1, I will continue to be involved with groups and projects in other parts of the City like I have demonstrated throughout my tenure as a Selectman.
Additionally, my 40 years of experience as a professional municipal executive has given me the ability to effectively work with the entire community. I have always maintained the capacity to engage in a collaborative and collegial manner with all residents and departments within Framingham. My knowledge and history of the social, economic and cultural diversity that Framingham has will enable me to continue to represent the entire community and work with the Mayor and city councilors from other districts.