Easthampton mayoral candidates urge tax incentives, using chamber of commerce to promote business (with video)
Easthampton mayoral candidates Karen Cadieux, David Ewing, Herbert Glazier and Nancy Sykes.
Dave Ewing, at his home in Easthampton, running for mayor.
Nancy L. Sykes. CAROL LOLLIS.
Karen L. Cadieux
Herbert M. Glazier, Easthampton mayoral candidate.
EASTHAMPTON — Providing tax incentives for businesses, encouraging productive relationships with the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce and shoring up the existing economy were among the ideas broached by the four mayoral candidates at a forum Tuesday evening.
About 200 people attended the 75-minute event and heard from candidates Karen L. Cadieux, 59, of 11 Deerfield Drive, the longtime assistant to the mayor; David G. Ewing, 64, of 5 Treehouse Circle, a candle maker at Yankee Candle; Herbert M. Glazier, 85, of 108 Everett St., Apt. 106, a retired home builder; and Nancy L. Sykes, 72, of 32 Mutter St., a former educator, lawyer and minister who is chairwoman of the School Committee. They are seeking to succeed outgoing mayor Michael A. Tautznik in the Nov. 5 election.
Moderator Laura Hutchinson, a news anchor for WWLP-22news, asked what incentives the city could offer to bring more businesses to Easthampton.
Cadieux said the city already has some incentives in place to attract businesses, including a single tax rate that applies to both commercial and residential properties, as well as strong public safety, good schools and community involvement. “Easthampton has all of that,” she said.
Sykes said she wants to open lines of communication between new businesses and city officials so owners will know what is expected of them and how to navigate the permitting process. “I think it’s important we have outreach to let people know what’s available,” she said.
Glazier said he would prefer to shore up the existing local economy rather than expand it. “We’re not going to build more businesses, we’re going to help the businesses we have survive,” he said.
Ewing agreed tax incentives can attract businesses, but only if there are assurances that the rates will stay steady over time. “A business won’t come in if it doesn’t know what their taxes will be in five, ten or 20 years,” he said.
The candidates all agreed that establishing relationships between businesses and the chamber of commerce is vital.
Cadieux said every business should seek help with promotion from the chamber and take advantage of its support.
Sykes said the new mayor should consider how best to work with the chamber and offer help so it can assist businesses.
Ewing said the chamber fosters networking and communication among its members which benefits everyone, and makes it a valuable municipal body.
Glazier said he favors an expansion of services from the chamber — providing maps of the city, for example — but added that it is important for businesses also to establish relationships with the Better Business Bureau.
Glazier said without those accreditations consumers would view those businesses as being “like a gypsy.”
Glazier had some difficulty throughout the forum, saying that at times he was unable to hear the questions or the signal alerting when he had gone over his allotted response time because of what he said was a dead battery in his hearing aid.
Each of the candidates touted their own backgrounds and experiences as reasons why they would make an ideal mayor.
Sykes pointed to her work as chairwoman of the School Committee and said this is a turning point for the city. As more and more people are deciding they want to visit and live in Easthampton, this is an opportunity to make it a destination city, she said.
“Now is the perfect time for us to continue — not to be static, but to grow into the model city of the 21st century,” Sykes said.
Ewing said he has a solid background of over 20 years in corporate management, during a previous career working for retail businesses, and those leadership skills that make him an ideal candidate for mayor.
Ewing said he has “a vision for the city’s future” that includes a plan to balance the amount of commercial, residential and open space to benefit everyone.
Glazier said his 70 years of business experience make him qualified to be mayor.
He used the Eastworks building, where the debate was held, as an example of the positive atmosphere created for businesses in Easthampton.
“There are 100 companies under one roof,” Glazier said. “That is more than the rest of Easthampton altogether.”
Cadieux said she is the best candidate because she has already done the job, serving as acting mayor during Tautznik’s absences during her 17 years as his assistant.
“I’ve established relationships with department heads and state legislators,” she said. “That experience makes me uniquely qualified.”
Tautznik, who has served eight terms as the city’s only mayor, is not seeking re-election. He was a candidate for the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire state Senate seat, but lost the Democratic primary Tuesday to Holyoke City Councilor David K. Bartley. That seat was vacated by Michael R. Knapik, who left Aug. 9 to take a job at Westfield State University.
Bob Dunn can be reached at email@example.com.