Daniel Herrick Sun Journal file photo

DAN HERRICK

Occupation: Contractor/farmer

Education: Graduate of Edward Little High School

Family: Married to Marie Herrick for 18 years, son , daughter, two stepsons and 14 grandchildren

Political experience: No response

Q: Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?  

A: As a contractor in this community, as well as my prior experience as a councilor, I talk to many residents and business people in Auburn. I hear their likes and dislikes and feel that I can bring forth their message to the council to help create a better future for this city.

Q: Please name three issues that you believe are critical to Auburn’s future, and how you would address them.

A: One major problem in this city is the empty deteriorating buildings and our roadways, which are in dire need of repair. Several years ago there was a policy put into place to address these issues but in my opinion that policy has not been followed. One example would be the road that our city highway garage is located on. I find it an embarrassment to this town that this road is in such disrepair. We need to go back to the drawing board and reassess how our road repairs are handled and not repair a road one month and the next month dig it up again because we did not fully assess the needs in that area.

I feel that any time a new business comes into this area the city is so quick to give them everything they want, including tax breaks in the form of TIFs. They ask and they receive and many times they are only here for a short time and gone. Then we have the businesses that have been in this community for years, pay their taxes and we make them jump through hoops to be able to expand and grow and continue to bring support to our city. We need to look at all departments that are in control of building, permitting and code enforcement and make sure that we have the proper people in those positions with the proper tools and knowledge to enforce our codes and help to find resolutions that are acceptable to all parties involved while maintaining the integrity of this community. Whether you are an existing business or a new business looking to build here, we should look for ways to help you reach your goals. That is what would help to make this a business-friendly community.

The last issue and the one I feel is the most important of all is the agricultural zone issue that we have been dealing with for far too long. Our council decided to use $40,000 of taxpayers’ money to hire a consulting firm to do a study of our ag zone. We spent that money, had a committee work with the consultants and they put together a report with many suggestions to help move this issue forward. Now we have had a second committee of individuals selected by the mayor and we are no further ahead with this discussion then we were several years ago. It is time to listen to the people that are farming today and make some decisions based on their suggestions to sustain the farms we have and encourage more growth. We need to make decisions now and stop wasting money and valuable staff time.

Q: What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?  

A: Truthfully there was nothing that I liked about our budget. I feel that our council did not work the budget. The city budgets not only this year but in the past few years have increased to the tune of $6-7 million and taxes continue to climb. I believe that the council should spend more time looking into each department budget and asking the hard questions. We can be more frugal in many areas not only on the city side of the budget but also on the School Department’s side. Our residents need to know that we are working for them to help control their taxes so that they can continue to live in their homes and have money to improve their land and buildings.

Stephen Milks

STEPHEN MILKS

Occupation: Executive vice president of corporate relations, Military Talent Source. Managing partner, Thompson Properties.

Education: B.S. in hotel administration, Cornell University, 1989

Family: Two children, Julia, Edward Little Class of 2018, sophomore at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and Daniel, Edward Little Class of 2020.

Political experience: This is my first run for public office.

Q: Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?

A: Having raised my children in Auburn over the last 18 years, I have experienced many of the great things Auburn has to offer. Over the years I’ve been involved in many capacities in the city, from volunteering with the YMCA, Parks and Recreation and Auburn Suburban baseball to being on the Steering Committee of the Auburn Strategic Planning Committee this last year. Auburn is my home and I love our city. As a business owner and real estate investor in Auburn, I also understand the challenges facing our city. I believe, as a city, we can promote a vibrant, innovative culture that provides opportunity for all the citizens of Auburn and encourages business and families to move to Auburn.

Q: Please name three issues that you believe are critical to Auburn’s future, and how you would address them.

A: The three biggest challenges facing our city: 1. The school system. We must improve the quality of education in Auburn. The performance of our school system is unsatisfactory and we need to have a serious discussion about how we are going to change the course of our schools. This election offers the citizens of Auburn a great opportunity to vote for change on the School Committee and I endorse candidates like Pam Hart who are standing up and demanding better from the School Department. 2. Taxes and spending. We must get a handle on the spending growth and rising property taxes in our city. The property tax burden is driving people and business out of our city. We need to evaluate all spending in the city and propose budget solutions that improve the quality of government while reducing its cost. We can do it. 3. Substandard housing. Finally, we need to address the spreading blight in the existing housing stock in areas of our city. We must improve access to programs and resources like TIF’s, CDBG and others to create incentives for owner occupied investment, investor rehabilitation and, where necessary, demolition of lost buildings too far gone to save.

Q: What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?  

A: I have been very happy with the city’s celebration of 150 years of Auburn. This has been great for Auburn and the continued promotion of our city should be an ongoing part of our budget. Overall property taxes are much too high and the city budget has grown out of control. I believe we can lower taxes, reduce spending and still have better government for all the citizens of Auburn.


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