Candidate Profile: Jim Munise for Select Board
As the sole incumbent Select Board member running for election this spring, Jim Munise said he brings experience and knowledge to the role.
Munise said the biggest challenge currently facing the town is “the lack of resources to provide the residents and citizens the things that they would like to have.”
He said the town often lacks the funding and staff to complete projects requested by citizens.
“Nobody wants to pay more taxes, but you can’t have it both ways,” Munise said.
He referenced a question from Monday’s Candidates’ Night about whether candidates would be in favor of a Proposition 1 ½ override. The total tax levy is limited by Proposition 2 ½, which limits the increase in the tax levy to 2.5 percent growth year over year, aside from new revenues — unless an override vote to increase taxes passes by a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting and on a ballot vote.
“The voting public makes the decision,” Munise said, adding that the only way officials could find out if people supported such a measure would be to put it up for a vote.
“You can’t not have a revenue stream to provide the services you want to have,” Munise said.
He said that the past few years have been good for the town in terms of commercial and industrial development, which has been good for town revenue.
He’s a strong proponent of the effort to convert the old Decas School into a community center, and he said he began giving people tours of the building in early 2021 to consider the possibilities there.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and you don’t have that prime location in the center of town,” he said.
Munise said the town has seen a number of new homes being built, including through several large 40B developments. As soon as the permits for those projects are pulled, he said, those unit counts are added to the town’s affordable housing stock — bringing it closer to having more control over 40B developments. Until 10% of the town’s housing is deemed affordable by the state, developers of complexes including affordable units can bypass local zoning laws through a law called 40B.
Munise said he’ll bring his experience and knowledge to the position, and he added that he’s always researching and learning more.
“To do a good job, it takes an awful lot of time,” Munise said. “There’s a lot to learn… You have to do the work to make informed decisions, and you have to have thick skin.”
Jim Munise worked for years at Bridgewater State University, which he said operates similarly to the town in that it's a governmental institution with a comparable budget. He served as a union steward.
Munise can be reached through his currently-under-construction Facebook page, “Vote4Jim.”