LONDONDERRY — A former state representative with a lengthy resume of public service now has his sights set on the Town Council.
On Monday, two-term School Board member John Robinson announced his plan to run for a Town Council seat. Robinson's School Board term expires in March.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the "John Robinson For Town Council" Facebook page had 61 likes.
"You do your best for a reasonable time, then you get out of the next person's way and move on to new ways to serve," Robinson said of his decision not to seek a third School Board term.
The Town Council has two vacancies for the coming term, with the terms of Joe Green and Tom Freda both set to expire.
The School Board also has two vacancies coming up, with Chairman Nancy Hendricks' term also expiring.
The filing period for town offices ends Jan. 31.
Robinson, who has also served on the budget committees in Londonderry and Goffstown and is an active volunteer in programs such as Londonderry Old Home Day, the local school district's radio station and the Cub Scouts, said his reasons for seeking a Town Council seat are many.He said a move from School Board to Town Council makes sense because "it's time to stop thinking of town and school as unrelated entities.""Ultimately, taxpayers write a single check no matter who spends the money," Robinson said. "As a School Board veteran, I want to help restart quarterly or semi-annual joint meetings of the School Board and Town Council."
Robinson said he also places priority on public safety, property rights and future development.With personnel costs being the largest driver of police and fire budgets, Robinson stressed the importance of paying competitive wages to police officers, firefighters and public works employees."We must also continue to press our representatives in state government to ensure that the state stops downshifting costs to local taxpayers by reneging on their commitment to contribute to costs such as retirement funding," he said.
On the horizon is the extensive Woodmont Commons development along Route 102 and Interstate 93."The developers have the right to use their property as they see fit, provided they abide by the town's existing regulations," Robinson said. "And the town has the right to work with the developers to manage their impact on local costs and provide appropriate barriers between their land and surrounding properties."Robinson further noted that the town stands to gain significant tax revenues in the future if it concentrates on "bringing appropriate businesses to town."
"We should balance our willingness to invest in attracting industry with our desire to manage residential property taxes," he said.
As Londonderry's largest employer, the local school district would do better to work closer with the municipality in the future, Robinson added."We need to get rid of silliness like the town billing the school district to provide ambulances at football games," he said. "We need to seek ways to increase sharing of resources, such as office spaces and recreational facilities."