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A promise kept

With mid-term elections drawing near, it’s a good time to think about campaign promises. We’ve all heard them, and even believed them, looking to garner some real hope for changes for the better from the words spoken as political candidates are trying their best to be elected.

Whether on the national, state or local level, voters have often heard these promises, but to be honest, they rarely become reality. Looking back to our local elections last year, however, one campaign promise that was made has been kept, to the great credit of the candidate who made it. First Selectman Bob Loucks of Sharon made the condition of his town’s roads a major part of his campaign. He made it clear at that time that he was disgusted with the neglect the roads had suffered for years and that he would do his best to find a way to repair or reclaim, that is, completely replace, what he described as crumbling roads. He attributed, in large part, Sharon’s difficulty in attracting new businesses and new residents to its poor and ever-deteriorating infrastructure.

Now, as reported by Cynthia Hochswender in the Sept. 2 issue of this newspaper, Sharon voters at a town meeting on Aug. 27 gave unanimous approval to a bold plan using a bond anticipation note to pay for the work. While some have taken exception to a step that will surely increase the mill rate for the town, those residents should remember that Sharon currently has one of the very lowest mill rates in the state. As Loucks pointed out at the August meeting, the town’s mill rate has been kept artificially low at the expense of its infrastructure. And driving on such poor roads takes its own toll on the vehicles that are so abused: They need more maintenance and repair in order to keep running.

The first selectman, who is a Republican, has been able to galvanize the town board, which has both Democratic and Republican selectmen, and the town citizens, no matter their party affiliation, to address this issue on which he based much of his election campaign. Former First Selectman Malcolm Brown, a Democrat, also supported Loucks’ plan at the August meeting. If ever there was a bipartisan issue, one that affects everyone in town, as Loucks well understands, it is the condition of the roads and bridges.

Loucks’ ability to keep this campaign promise will have positive effects for Sharon for years to come. It’s particularly commendable that Loucks and the town board have been able to implement this solution during a time when it’s not a simple matter to fund any project, what with state and federal money drying up.

It would be nice if some of the promises being made now, during the mid-term election campaign, are kept with the same spirit of service to community with which Loucks has kept his.

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