For a voter and taxpayer looking for a helpful yardstick to measure the potential of candidates for a seat on the board of selectmen, prior service on the town finance committee is a promising credential.
The board of selectmen is the town chief executive committee, but the finance committee is a kind of board of directors. The operations of municipal governments may seem opaque, but the budgeting, capital and operational spending, and the interactions between finance committee and town departments, result in clarity. Because of this clarity, finance committee members see better than most how their town really works, what it really needs, and what it wastes.
Jon Snyder, a Tisbury full-time resident since 2005, has served on Tisbury’s finance committee for six years and on the all-Island finance committee for five years. Working with a nicely balanced trio of selectmen the past few years, the finance committee and Mr. Snyder have helped stabilize and improve Tisbury’s fortunes, slow the growth of the tax levy and attend to capital projects that needed doing. Financially, Tisbury is in sound shape, but it faces cost pressures, capital needs pressures, and a crying need to see its real estate tax base grow.
Mr. Snyder recognizes the complicated interconnection of these needs but also opportunities.
“First,” he wrote in answer to questions posed by The Times this week, “the town is going to need to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. This project won’t happen quickly – it will take time to determine our needs and design the plant before we begin to build, but we don’t have a choice about whether to upgrade.”
The upgrade is important not only for the community’s environmental health but the health of its business community, hamstrung by foolish decisions made when the existing wastewater treatment plan was being planned.
As he says, “Good decisions come from good communication of all aspects of each issue. Our administration has done a great job of asking good questions and collecting information. As selectman, I would work to build consensus, using clear communication to avoid misunderstandings. A board that works together can be more productive than a board that is at odds with itself. Tisbury has had four years of relative harmony among the selectmen, and I’d work to keep that positive atmosphere.”
Tisbury voters will continue to benefit from harmony among leaders. This is not to say that every official’s agenda will be the same, but good ideas, combined with careful analysis, and, as Mr. Snyder correctly observes, clear communication within town government and with voters will result in sound decisions.
Tisbury voters will enjoy the fruits of such successful collaboration by choosing Jon Snyder as selectman.