Greetings to my constituents of West Stockbridge.
A bit of my personal life;
I’m Richard (Ricky) Klein, born on January 30th 1954 in West Stockbridge and having spent all of my life here, consider this “My Home Town”. Together with my wife Ann of 30 years we have raised our three children Alicia, Brendan, Colby. Like many others we’ve enjoyed the secure small town atmosphere, highly rated school system, and diverse economic and cultural background of the area.
Graduating from MMRHS in 1971, Berkshire Community College in 1973 with an associates degree in Business, I continued taking classes through 1995.
In 1978 I established Ricky’s AutoBody, a collision & used auto facility in town which I still operate today. In 2001 I formed Thistle Doo Development Inc. which specializes in real estate and site development.
About being selectman;
Soon after being elected in 1991 I felt the full impact of my newly elected position. The town’s sewer plant was being finished with many obstacles and complications to be overcome. Next the water crisis reared its ugly head, my fellow selectman Dan Sartori, Mark Webber and I spent many hours laying out hose from the Richmond Quarry to get water to the towns people. We then went to work on a permanent solution, now the town enjoys the fruits of our labor, a modern, efficient water system for future generations to enjoy.
A 3 year sabbatical led to another 6 years of service, reelected in 1998 and again in 2001 myself and fellow board members work daily guiding the town into the future as it ever changes. In this time period we’ve accomplished much, installing public bathrooms to help the downtown merchants facilitate tourists. 2 public parking lots have been installed, a new walking bridge and lighting on Harris St., new playground equipment for Card Pond any many more items to numerous to mention. Sadly in 1998, our largest endeavor, a million plus dollar grant to revitalize downtown was rejected by some downtown merchants and never came to fruition.
In the past 6 years I’ve fought with the help of others to keep our town’s operating budget to no more than a 1.5 % average yearly increase, unheard of in most communities.
Most of my short term efforts will be directed toward the transformation of Village School into a senior center, new town offices and recreation center. A delicate balance must remain between expenditures for town service and our tax base. Recent second homeowner growth, which is both enjoyable and financially beneficial to the town, continues to help us expand our tax base without increasing expenses. Many of our resident’s -especially- seniors cannot afford tax increases if this balance is broken.
My nine years in town government backed by 26 years of successful business experience enable me to continue this difficult task.
Long term efforts will focus on the newly formed visioning committees’ recommendations, as I believe plenty of good ideas will come forth. The ongoing search for grant money to replace the dwindling chapter 90 (highway improvement) monies and other projects. The careful development of downtown, none of us want to wait in traffic! Also as I always have keep taxes under control.