Saturday, February 25, 2017


Michelle Elbert
Running for Board of Selectmen position for 3 years.


Introductory Letter

My family and I purchased land, built a house and moved to Farmington in 2003. Over the last 14 years, I have volunteered with the elementary and middle schools, Cub Scout Pack 188 in Farmington, Boy Scout Troop 186 in Rochester, and the Goodwin Library here in town. I have been on the library’s Board of Trustees since 2010 and have had the great privilege of serving as its president for the last 4 years. At the same time I am the Committee Chair of our Boy Scout troop and have seen great strides made with both of these organizations under my leadership.

I am running as a write-in candidate for Selectman because Farmington is not only stagnating under the current leadership, but it is moving backwards. Change is necessary for growth to happen. Farmington is a gem of a town and has such potential as a community, but economic development is a necessity and should be put first on the town’s agenda. The Route 11 corridor is ripe for development and nothing is being done. Our downtown area is in need of revitalization and preservation and it is my understanding that Farmington may be eligible for the USDA RDBG (Rural Development Business Grant) and as a Selectman, I intend to pursue that avenue. I will make economic development a priority because I believe that we have to give families and businesses a reason to come to and stay in Farmington.

This is a critical time for Farmington. Our town is in a prime location – close to the Seacoast, Lake Winnipesaukee, the Belknap Mountain range which includes great skiing and hiking options, and it’s a viable option as a residential area for people who work in Portsmouth and the more expensive seacoast towns. New businesses are coming to Route 11 and people are spending their money in Rochester. We need to continue that development into Farmington, but to do that, we must have a plan and act on it. This is where the current system is failing. New businesses are crucial to our town to improve the tax base and reduce the burden on residents. We cannot let another 5 years of economic development opportunities pass Farmington by while the BOS allocates funds to other budget items. We must put the interests of our residents first and economic development is the way to do that. We cannot continue to fund the town solely through tax dollars and simply maintain the status quo.

This will be a learning process for me, but I am not scared of digging in, asking questions, and challenging the system. It has taken three years as President of the Library’s Board of Trustees to sift through several years of neglect and poor direction to get the library back on a path of excellence. Since 2013, we have settled many issues that were allowed to linger for decades. I did not do this alone. I have worked with a team of dedicated trustees and staff and I hope to bring that same spirit of teamwork to the Board of Selectmen. I will also bring my tenacity and desire for positive change to the town of Farmington.

This is an exciting time and I want to be a part of it.
Please consider me as a write in candidate for Selectman when voting on March 14th.

Questions or comments can be sent to melbert@metrocast.net

Why do you want to hold the office you seek?
After hearing about some of the antics of our elected officials, I realized we need real leadership, not more mischief. The only way we are going to further the progress of our town is to try something new. We keep making the same choices and expecting different results. That’s not leadership, that is an agenda. We need to remove personal agendas and vendettas from the table and get down to the business of moving Farmington forward. The “good old boy” style of politics in Farmington has run its course.

If you are an incumbent, describe one contribution that you made on the board? N/A

Describe one challenge you see with the present board.
The majority of them seem to have obstructional views to change.  They have a “no” attitude to any suggestion of investment to make our town better or more attractive to new families and businesses. Let’s change that to a “yes” attitude and spend the money necessary to make the improvements that will attract those new tax revenues.  Let’s find creative ways to bring abundance to our town.

What is your vision for Farmington’s economic future?
It’s time to look outside of Farmington for help in getting us on track to economic development.  The UNH Cooperative Extension is ready to offer help and we need to align ourselves with them or they will take it elsewhere. Two years ago, we voted for the TIF, but we’re not doing anything with it. We need a committee to to discuss how to use it, but they’ve failed to create one.
My vision also includes solving the zoning issues we face and working collaboratively with the boards and committees in town because we all serve the taxpayer.

How do you accommodate those who do not share your vision?
I will not accommodate them.  I will listen to them and learn from them. With our current leadership, there is no listening and when faced with a problem they ignore it and hope it will go away. They make excuses and fall back on the idea that this is the way it’s always been done rather than tackling important problems.  This is not governing and it is not the leadership that this town needs. The ability to bring my vision to fruition will only be enhanced by understanding what drives the people of this town. In the end, we may still disagree, but conflict often provides opportunities for creative problem solving.  We need new blood and new ideas if Farmington is ever going to move forward.

What services and resources should a municipality provide for its citizens?
It depends on the municipality and demographic.  For Farmington, we need a reliable transportation system (Coast Bus). A quality educational system will attract new families to fill available homes. By making a serious marketing effort to portray Farmington as the gem it is, we can bring businesses and jobs back to our town.

What are the first 5 actions you would take or encourage the board to take?
A.      Develop collaboration between the various boards and committees
B.      Establish a common goal for the town
C.     Our budget is lean but there is room for improvement because we don’t spend our money on the right things. We need to spend the town’s money in responsible, meaningful ways.
D.      I was able to figure out a decades plus legal issue with the library this past year and I am ready to tackle the TIF
E.       Establish an open and ongoing dialogue between the BOS and the residents.  The selectmen should be accessible to the taxpayers all the time, not just during election season.


Different Themes
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