This letter to the editor originally appeared in TAPintoWestfield on April 15, 20201 and The Westfield Leader on April 22, 2021.
To the Editor:
As a resident of Ward 1, in Westfield for more than 37 years, I am delighted to support Councilwoman Linda Habgood’s reelection to the Town Council as our Ward 1 representative.
I first learned that Councilwoman Habgood was head of the Town Finance Committee at a 2018 Town Council budget meeting that I attended in order to hear from and evaluate the new administration that had been sworn in earlier that year.
I was surprisingly and happily impressed when I learned that under Councilwoman Habgood’s leadership of the town’s Finance Committee, the Town had used a portion of its surplus to benefit residents by lowering the tax rate and maintained its AAA bond rating as well as appropriate levels of surplus.
Since that time, Councilwoman Habgood has demonstrated strong and responsible fiscal oversight. Indeed, the Town has averaged an annual 1.1% municipal tax rate — the lowest four-year average in history, including 0% tax levy in 2019, for the first time in decades. In addition, under her leadership, the mayor and council reduced the municipal budget for first time in eight years by 1.32% in 2020, in spite of 2% increase in non-discretionary expenses.
My path crossed with Councilwoman Habgood’s on another occasion when I felt encouraged by the new administration to volunteer and serve in a local governmental capacity. As a result, I joined the Westfield Historic Preservation Commission, where she serves as the Town Council Liaison to the Commission.
Councilwoman Habgood works tirelessly to ensure that our Town is a thoughtful steward of our history and our neighborhoods. During her tenure, the Town Council passed an updated Historic Preservation Ordinance and, in collaboration with the Commission and property owners, the Town has successfully designated six historic properties — the most in town history.
Councilwoman Habgood has demonstrated time and again that she works in furtherance of the best interests of the residents of Westfield. For this reason, I encourage voters to join me in voting to reelect Councilwoman Habgood to the Westfield Town Council as our Ward 1 representative.
Jacqueline E Brevard