Statement from Dr. Brett Zografos

January 3, 2022
Brett 2021 Old Town Hall
My Fellow Dightonians,
I hope you all enjoyed a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season! The holidays offer a special time for us to reflect on the past year. Although 2021 certainly presented us with many challenges, our small town with a big heart came together to overcome them through the love, support, and sense of community we show for each other every single day.
For myself, I look back at all the hard work we have put in and the vast accomplishments we have achieved together over the last six years that I have been fortunate enough to serve Dighton, the small town that raised me, as your Selectman and I am amazed. Together, through grit, focus, and determination, we have made a multitude of improvements to how our municipal government operates and works for you.
We have modernized and professionalized our town government by hiring a Town Administrator and adopting policies that improved our administrative efficiency, expanded and improved the delivery of public services, and used your taxpayer dollars to make your lives easier and your public services and your government more accessible and transparent. We have done so by implementing a YouTube channel for all public meetings, establishing a social media presence, and revamping our website to make it user-friendly, making it easier for you to follow what your government is doing in your name and making your government more accountable to you.
We became a Green Community and used the designation grant award in the amount of $143,636 from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to weatherize our town buildings and schools, install two electric vehicle charging stations, install WiFi thermostats, and install LED lighting, fixtures, and controls in town buildings. In total, these infrastructure and equipment upgrades have helped us reduce our energy consumption by over 20%, saving taxpayers over $25,000 annually. We are now eligible for future Green Communities grants on a competitive, project-by-project basis. We have also replaced all National Grid street lights with LED bulbs, thanks to the Electric Light District, saving even more taxpayer dollars.
We have given voice to persons with disability in our town through our successful efforts in the last two years to secure over $400,000 in state grant funding to make our public buildings, grounds, streets, and recreational facilities accessible for all Dightonians regardless of ability because we believe that being able to access and participate in our government and our community is a right, not a privilege.
We wrote and adopted the Open Space & Recreation Plan (OSRP) to preserve and protect Dighton’s breathtaking open and recreational spaces as well as the wildlife that call it home. By doing so, the Town of Dighton is now eligible for future land management and conservation grants. We purchased and preserved historic Council Oak land in perpetuity, while also investing in over 20 acres of land with an agricultural restriction on Elm Street. We supported an environmental survey on land that AstraZeneca has donated to the Town of Dighton, thereby avoiding an unnecessary subdivision and preserving more precious open space. We wrote and adopted the Right to Farm bylaw to become a Right to Farm community and also formed an Agricultural Commission to promote agriculture and support our local farmers, who are the bedrock of our little community. We supported the vast expansion of the Bristol County Agricultural High School and are proud of its reputation as a leader in agricultural education. We supported a feasibility study coordinated by the Trails Committee to expand and improve our recreational trails and pathways for Dighton families to enjoy. We established the James Briggs Community Garden, which will provide fresh, healthy produce to the monthly Dighton Lions Club Food Bank Distribution for Dighton’s neediest residents and families.
We have prioritized economic revitalization and bringing business to Dighton, signing several lucrative Host Community Agreements (HCAs) to recruit both a medicinal and adult use Registered Marijuana Dispensary to Williams Street and two cannabis cultivation sites to the Spring Street Mill. This will inject much needed commercial revenue and economic life into town while also revitalizing the beautiful, historic mill.
We have supported and invested in our public safety departments, built a new police & dispatch station, and purchased several new police cruisers, a new ambulance, and a new fire engine truck. We have appointed a Police Lieutenant, several Fire Lieutenants, a Fire Captain, and hired several new police officers, firefighters, and first responders. They keep us safe every day, so it is our duty to support and protect them by ensuring they have the necessary tools and resources required to keep them safe in the line of duty.
We accomplished all this while consistently lowering the tax rate, keeping our financial budgets under the excess levy capacity to avoid tax increases by staying within our means, and saved well over $2 million in our municipal and capital stabilization accounts due to sound financial management. We have prioritized earning state and federal grants, rather than spending taxpayer dollars, to fund important infrastructure improvements around town, ranging from “green energy” infrastructure improvements to accessibility improvements to crosswalk and sidewalk installation. We even used matching grant funds to create the beautiful new Dighton Animal Shelter on Tremont Street, thanks to our Animal Control Officer.
However, our work is not yet complete; we still have more to do together. We need to plan for our schools and ensure that every child continues to have access to a world class education, just like I had growing up here. We need to plan for the expansion of public services, such as water and sewer, as new houses continue to be built in town. We need to curb residential growth and development to allow for the planning of future public services and the recruitment of new businesses by exploring the expansion of sewer down Route 138 or Route 44, using ARPA funds to help us get “shovel ready”, thereby making us eligible for state grant funding to install new sewer lines. We need to make it easier for the elderly to stay in their homes by increasing the senior tax exemption. We need to continue to support and modernize our public safety departments by addressing the immediate infrastructure needs of Fire Station No. 1. This cannot wait, the time is now. We must also address the long-term infrastructure needs of the Dighton Public Library. We must maintain our rural character by writing and adopting Open Space Residential Design bylaws that force developers to incorporate needed open space into their development plans. And when they cut corners or are not compliant with permit conditions, we must hold them accountable. I will continue to be a leader on these important issues.
It is for these reasons that I am both excited and proud to announce that I will run for re-election in 2022 for another three year term. It has been the honor of my life serving you the last six years. And, if I am fortunate to be re-elected as your Selectman again, I will lead us to make progress towards these goals over the next three years, undeterred; guided by an abiding faith, not in myself, but in us; in what we can achieve together when we focus on what we have in common, the values and dreams that we share, not the things that drive us apart.
There will be those who say this election is about who is left and who is right; who is blue and who is red; who is Democrat and who is Republican. But that could not be any further from the truth. This election is about whether or not we move forward or backward together. I choose forward. I ask that you continue to join me. We must keep moving forward together as one Dighton family and, as your Selectman, I promise that we will.

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Paid for by the Committee to Elect Brett Zografos
Contact
(774) 955-4410
brett@brettzografos.com
411 Tremont Street, North Dighton, MA 02764