A record of strong leadership for Stockbridge
Hello. My name is Patrick White and I am running to continue to serve as your Stockbridge Selectman.
The Long Version of why I am running
Here’s the long version — read on and call, text, email or let's have coffee if you have an idea or a question.
I've worked hard as a town leader to protect Stockbridge's environment and natural beauty. I've worked hard to identify the challenge of dying old-growth trees at Ice Glen and took action to save them. I proposed successfully that the Select Board reconstitute the Agricultural and Forestry Commission and the Kampoosa Bog Stewardship Commission and recruited the majority of the 12 members who now serve on these committees. I proposed in last year's town budget that we add a Conservation Agent, whom we hired this year and has greatly assisted both our Conservation Commission and our Planning Board.
Next year, we have approximately 61 children from Stockbridge in grades 7-12. We have only 36 in grades 1-6. When Chuck and I were in the 4th grade, we had upwards of 40 kids total in our grade. Next year, there are just 3 children in grade 4 from Stockbridge. I recognize we will never return to the robust family life of Stockbridge circa 1975, but the fact is we've seen a decline of an average of five children each year for the past 50 years. Here's another data point: One of our volunteer firefighters remembers that when he joined the Fire Dept. in 1978, we had 90 volunteers. Currently we have about a dozen, and in five years we will have six or less due to the state's mandatory retirement laws. I will continue to initiate and support policies to encourage folks to stay here and to choose to move here. We must reverse this decline to maintain some semblance of the vibrant small-town New England community that has defined us for nearly three centuries.
I have a simple strategy to attract residents to choose Stockbridge as the place to raise their families: Low taxes, more family income, better schools. First, by keeping taxes low, we reduce the cost of home ownership and make ourselves more competitive with other towns. My budget this year actually reduces spending, which helps both primary and part-time residents alike. I also support a tax plan that many similar towns have embraced on the Cape. Second, I want to encourage home-based income for hard-working families, an example of which is my proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) bylaw that I wrote and try to get passed in this coming year. Third, I focus on schools, which is why I have worked so hard on the new high school and potential school merger.
ADUs can help seniors by giving them a way to downsize on their own property, while adding a rental unit for income or a caregiver. I've also strongly supported our seniors at Heaton Court from my role as a Selectman and as a member of the Community Preservation Committee.
I wrote a strong short-term rental bylaw in 2021, only to have my colleague at the time (and opponent now) propose an alternate. Mine would have restricted short-term rentals like AirBnb to residents as a way to augment their income, while preventing speculators from buying up our housing stock. My opponent's proposal, now on the books, has been a failure. It has done nothing to address the problem of outside speculators snapping up properties, resulting in a reduction in missing middle housing.
Only about a dozen of at least 150 have registered with the town. From 1/3 to 1/2 haven't registered with the state and therefore don't pay their occupancy taxes due. This current complaint-driven bylaw is hard to enforce and requires senior staff time to manage. Meanwhile, the number of short-term rentals in Stockbridge has nearly doubled. If we want to maintain the character of the town, by all means allow residents to offer a short-term rental to help make ends meet, but ban outside investors from buying up our residential housing stock.
I worked hard to help our town merchants, spearheading a video during COVID to promote shopping. I also strongly supported the hybrid coverage of all of our public meetings, not just the Select Board. When CTSB informed us on March 10, 2023 they could no longer support this expanded coverage, I emphasized to our town administrator the importance of maintaining coverage. This allows folks to participate remotely, watch all committee meetings after the fact, and keeps both primary and part-time residents informed. We successfully rolled out a replacement to CTSB on April 1. You probably didn't even notice, but behind the scenes a lot of hard work went into it.
In addition to the Select Board, I serve on the Community Preservation Committee (CPC), the Regional School District Planning Board (RSDPB), the Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Commission, the Cemetery Commission, and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. I also show up at many of our other meetings as a member of the audience. I believe it is the job of a select board member to stay informed of the efforts of all of our committees and their volunteers who work so hard on behalf of the town.
Some of My Photos
Happy Easter. Happy Passover.
Checking out the renovation of the Milk Barn at Gould Meadows. Thanks to all the Gould volunteers!
Attending a ZBA meeting.
Canoeing on the Stockbridge Bowl.
Working with the Housatonic Valley Authority to inspect every culvert in Stockbridge. I co-managed the MVP grant on behalf of the town that led to funding for this effort.
Walking the Stockbridge Golf Course. How great that the SGC allows public access off-season.
I supported the Bear Bylaw. Not sure if this guy has read it, however.
A regular sighting on the Stockbridge Bowl!
The Butler Bridge. This is on my list of infrastructure to be evaluated this year so that we can ensure the long-term viability of this historic gem!
Found this on eBay and gave it to a Laurel Hill board member.
I've worked my entire term to strengthen our relationship with the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans.
One of our new trucks at the Beach!
Watching them move the Agrippa Hull house. Thank you Kate and Hans Morris for your stewardship of this historic treasure!
What would Abe do?
Lock him up!
One of the first signs of a Stockbridge spring.
Having fun on Lily Pond.
Ice Glen is so special it made the cover of Smithsonian Magazine last year.
I worked behind the scenes to help ensure the Josh Billings was able to proceed last year.
I volunteered to run the harvester for a few seasons. So much fun!
This guy lives in my basement, so I suppose I have an ADU.
Attending town meeting as a selectman.
It's nice to have friends when you are down!
Stockbridge family circa 1969. And yes, my Dad was a better gardener.