Name: Mark W. Coulter
Profession: Retired sergeant on Ayer Police Department, 16 years.
Relevant experience: Twenty-six years providing a public service.
Education: Police leadership Institute, University of Massachusetts, Lowell; police leadership/management, Babson College; multiple project management, municipal police training committee; effective employee performance appraisals; numerous certificates related to law enforcement
Ayer resident: Five years
1. Why did you decide to run for the Board of Selectmen?
I decided to run because I feel citizens are being cut off and ignored when they want to speak at board meetings. Five people are responsible for digesting all of the facts regarding every issue in town and relating those findings completely to the citizens, then vote in a manner that is in the best interest of the town and it’s citizens. Communications needs great improvement. Citizens need to be listened to.
2. What do you consider the three most important issues facing Ayer and why?
A) Taxes: We need to keep people in Ayer, not drive them out with constant tax increases.
B) Housing: Devens has brought in high-end jobs, those people require a place to live if they choose to live near their place of employment. Ayer may provide housing, but we need to realize that although new housing brings new tax revenue it also brings with it more expenses to public services and schools, we need a medium ground for this issue.
C). Devens: Not only do we need to make decisions regarding our land at Devens, but we need to look to the future with those decisions, not the short term, but 20 or 30 years from now. Which plan will be best, specific portions of land being returned to Ayer or all of our land being returned. What Ayer property on Devens will be taxable to the town, and what will not? What businesses on Ayer’s land will be taxable, and what will not?
Can we project the cost of education to Devens children 10, 20 or 30 years from now based on housing numbers. Many questions, many concerns. Until Ed Kelley worked hard and provided a forum for information the town was getting little information from Mass Development we need to demand even more information.
3. What, if any, action by the Board of Selectmen in the last year would you like to have seen decided differently and why?
4. Why do you feel you’re the best candidate for the job?
I have been in public service for 26 years, 16 in Ayer. I believe that citizens need to be heard and have a right to be heard. I believe in open government and absolute accountability if you are a person elected to represent the citizens of Ayer. I am a negotiator. Based on my law enforcement experience I listen to all sides and consider all of the facts before making a decision. No one should be ignored because of their standing or lack of standing in the community. We need to be there for the senior population and take advice from them. They have been through harder times.
Finally, I am approachable, and I am an excellent listener. I will not make promises that can’t be kept.