Derek Suursoo: Repaving Routes 11, 103 within Chester village are priorities

Derek Suursoo

Derek Suursoo

©2015-Telegraph Publishing LLC

Derek Suursoo grew up in Chester before joining the  Navy in 1978, where he served as an electronics technician before retiring from service in 2000. Since then, he says his “primary job” has been raising his four children. He is currently in his ninth year on the Chester Select Board.

What do you see as the one or two biggest challenges facing the Town of Chester?

I believe that our major challenges are the repair, maintenance and improvement of existing infrastructure and, equally important, the development of sources of revenue necessary to support infrastructure improvement.

Where do the biggest opportunities lie?

I have attempted to answer this question in numerous ways, but I have been unable to create an answer I believe in.  My copy of Webster’s Dictionary (unabridged) defines opportunity as “1. Fit or convenient time or occasion; a combination of circumstances favorable for the purpose; suitable time, combined with other favorable circumstances.”

Many opportunities come our way.   What those opportunities may be, prior to their arrival, is very difficult to predict.  The trick with opportunity is to be prepared for its eventual arrival and recognize it when it actually comes.  Often opportunities have a very short lifespan.

I believe that Chester should be proactive in preparing for opportunities. We must understand our needs and plans to address those needs should be pre-formulated and ready to go.  We must properly position ourselves in advance to the greatest extent possible. The saying that I was taught in the service was simply, “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance.”

What would be your Top 3 priorities as a select board member for the next three years?

My top priorities would be the repaving of Routes 11 and 103 in the village with a specific focus on Depot Street and its railroad crossing, completing the downtown sidewalk replacement project and completing the realignment of the road in Popple Dungeon.

I would also like to seek solutions for the repairs necessary at the Town Hall and Town Garage, the Emergency Services’ inadequate garage and storage space, the aging water mains and poor fire hydrant flows in town, the storm water in the town’s sewer system, and the inadequate storm water drainage in some parts of the town.  In general, I would like to focus on town infrastructure improvements, many of which are long overdue.

I would like to see forward progress in the economic development/viability/desirability discussion and I would like to see the town’s website utilized to support local business and promote Chester.

Is there any role for town government to grow the grand list? If so, what role? If not, why not?

The grand list can be used as an indicator of the health of the community.  Grand list growth occurs when individuals or companies have the financial ability and desire to invest in the community. I believe that grand list growth is necessary and healthy.

I believe that Chester should welcome and encourage potential investment. Ultimately, grand list growth is controlled by Chester’s Unified Development Bylaws.  Those bylaws reflect the desires of the citizens and provide the regulatory framework that defines the form that grand list growth may take throughout the town.  Those bylaws, and all regulatory documents, should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they remain current and truly reflect the desires of the community.

What role, if any, should the town government take in promoting Chester and its businesses?

Town government should play a role in promoting Chester.  The town website should advertise events and attractions and the website links to businesses should be established to the greatest extent possible.  The town sign ordinance should be business friendly and allow businesses to advertise themselves within reasonable parameters.

Events such as the Winter Carnival, Sale on the Green (aka Fall Festival), musical events, historical events, etc. should be encouraged and supported to the greatest extent possible.

The Select Board and town management should actively pursue discussion regarding this issue. I believe that Chester should maintain a position of attractiveness and desirability so that current or potential residents and businesses are interested in and happy with our community, desire to be here and are encouraged to invest in their part of our community.

What role can town government take in slowing the rise or even reducing education taxes?

Education taxes are controlled by the Vermont legislature.  The town and individual citizens should make their views clear to their representatives.  Chester’s Select Board has clearly expressed its opinion that the current educational taxes are unacceptable and unsustainable to our senators and House representative, as well as their leaders, during public forums and through correspondence.  The Select Board has worked with and should continue to work with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, which advocates on our behalf.

Vermont needs to address post-graduation retention and employment opportunities in all regions of the state.  It seems foolish to make as tremendous an investment in education as we do and then give that investment away by failing to have adequate opportunities for our graduates.  Additionally, the departure of youth from Vermont is harmful and depresses the vitality of the communities.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: ChesterLatest News

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.