Candidate profile: Woody Hartley
Incumbent Selectmen Woody Hartley said he wants to serve a second term to continue the “significant progress” he made in his first term.
Coronavirus has quickly become the biggest issue in town, but Hartley said the town went into the crisis in good financial standing, so “I think we’re going to make it through.”
The cranberry grower has lived in Rochester for all his life, and his family roots in the town go back to the 1800s. Previously, he served as Rochester town moderator for 18 years, served as park commissioner. In the private sector, he served a district manager for a wide region of the country at an engineering firm.
It will be another 12 to 18 months before the town can see the true financial impacts of Covid-19, but Hartley said it has been putting money into its stabilization fund over the last three years, to help with unexpected expenses, like coronavirus.
As town reopens, Hartley said life cannot go back to normal immediately after restrictions are lifted.
“It’s going to take a steady hand to get this done,” Hartley said.
He said there can’t be 50-people breakfasts held by the Council On Aging, for example.
When the town does open, there are other issues that it will have to discuss.
Solar farms are a controversial topic, and he believes they need to be a source of revenue and not an expense.
The town needs to “take it one step at a time” to ensure that the installations of solar farms will help its budget, Hartley said.
He supports 55+ housing projects, like the one being installed at Plumb Corner, and normal 40R developments have moved ahead because Hartley and the other Selectmen are in constant contact with the public to gauge their support.
Looking to the future, he also hopes that he can help with the installation of solar panels at Rochester Memorial School and ensure that a financial assessment is done before the construction of a new fire station.
With the end of the Carver-Marion-Wareham refuse disposal district in December, the transfer station on County Road that borders Rochester and West Wareham will be closing. Hartley said the town is working on several options to ensure that residents have a place to go with their disposables that can’t end up in the trash or recycling. A possible option would be coming up with an agreement between the town and Carver, Marion or Wareham to use one of their transfer stations.
If re-elected, Hartley hopes “to keep the town moving,” in the right direction, through the pandemic and beyond.