Running forWard 9 Alderman
Running as Non-Partisan Election
Born and raised in Manchester, son of Wilfred Burkush and Phyllis Hopkins. Attended public schools, Memorial High class of 1976. Appointed to Manchester Fire, May 1977 retiring as Chief 2016. Happily married 42 years to Anne, Dad to Kendall and TJ, Grandfather to Emilia, Willa, Ryan and Cora
NH House of Representatives 1998-99, Commissioner, Department of Public Works
Current jobInstructor at the NH Fire Academy — part time.
My first job was as a paper delivery boy for the Union Leader when I was 12.
As a teenager, I worked at JJ Moreau’s in sporting goods, and then I worked at the Second Street Car Wash pumping gas and washing cars.
When I was 18, I joined the Manchester Fire Department, and I rose through the ranks to be appointed Fire Chief in 2008 by Mayor Frank Guinta.
In 2016, I retired, taking a position as part-time Fire Chief in Hooksett, from which I retired in 2021.
Current residenceRetired, Part time Instructor NH Fire Academy
Time lived in NHLifelong Ward 9 resident
Memorial High School,1976
Granite State College, BS
National Fire Academy
Best way to contact candidatePhone (603-714-0283) or Email (email@example.com)
Why are you running for this office?
I want to continue working for all residents of Ward 9 by providing exceptional constituent service, being responsive to residents’ concerns and providing a voice at City Hall. We need to ensure quality services, support public education while being fiscally responsible with Tax dollars.
What qualifies you as the best candidate for this office?
Knowledge, Experience and Dedication from a lifetime of service to our community.
What are your thoughts on and plans for addressing homelessness?
As we know, this is a multifaceted National Crisis. Here in Manchester, we are working on different initiatives to address this problem. In January, the city opened the Emergency Operations Center to deal with the emergency and save lives. City Departments, Health care providers and others were able to rapidly open an emergency warming shelter at the Cashin Center, which was later moved to 39 Beech Street. Continuing with these efforts, the City contracted with Gate House to provide outreach and clinical services. A Director of Homelessness Initiatives has been hired along with an Overdose Prevention clinician. The Fire Department established a Squad to work with mental health outreach teams in the field. A Daytime Engagement Center will open soon at 39 Beech Street. This will connect homeless residents to needed services. These include housing, health care, employment, identification and more. I am on the Special Aldermanic Committee working on this crisis along with other community members.
What are your thoughts on housing costs and plans for addressing those concerns?
The City of Manchester has allocated $2 million to provide financing to developers to build affordable housing. There are at least 3 projects underway to build about 377 low-income units. With public input, City Building and Zoning Codes are being revised. The BMA passed the Auxiliary Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance allowing for construction of “In-Law” structures in the City. These changes will help, but it may take some time.
What are your thoughts on and plans regarding crime and public safety?
Manchester has excellent Police and Fire Departments. Their roles continue to expand in our changing society; we are asking more from them on a daily basis. I have voted to add additional Police Officers and supported new cameras, tasers and technology.
What are your thoughts on and/or plans for addressing concerns about property tax rates?
Taxpayers expect their dollars to be used frugally and efficiently to produce quality services. Our goal should always be to respect the Tax Cap and keep increases as low as possible. We must ensure transparency and accountability for every dollar spent. I support the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposal being considered by BMA. Five surrounding communities are using TIF to attract commercial development and grow their Tax Base. Londonderry is an example of a successful TIF. We need to continually look for efficiencies, grants and opportunities to keep taxes low as possible.
What are your thoughts on the city's snow removal and trash pickup services?
Public Works does an excellent job. They continually look for efficiencies in delivery of these services. We have seen the result of sidearm trash trucks in the reduction of worker injuries. This has increased the safety of our workers and reduced Workers Compensation costs. The emergency snow ordinance has been revised with the goal of clearing the streets more quickly.
What are your thoughts on the city's small business climate?
The Board of Mayor and Alderman has reinstated the Economic Development Office with a Director and Assistant. This shows the commitment we have made to attract and retain businesses. They are available on a daily basis to provide guidance and assistance in opening and operating a business in Manchester. The Economic Development Office is leading the rebranding effort of our city. They work with developers in efforts to rehabilitate dilapidated buildings through the 79e tax incentive program. They are spearheading the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposal which should attract medium and larger developments.
What are your thoughts on and plans on improving the city's medium and large business climate?
Same as the previous question.
What are your thoughts on and plans on improving parks and recreation in the city?
Parks and Recreation is a division of Public Works. Together they have secured grant funding from the State and working on completing the Rail Trail through the City. The RAISE Grant is an example of integrating infrastructure improvements with pedestrian and bicycle pathways. These projects are a reality and construction will begin in the near future. We need to increase security at our Parks to reduce vagrants and vandalism. Innovative Public-Private partnerships to compensate volunteers for trash collections have started and should help clean up our parks.
What are your thoughts on how public transportation and infrastructure in the city can be improved?
Manchester Transit Authority is responsive to the changing needs of public transportation. They are providing service to Hampton Beach and shuttle service to our surrounding communities. Their fleet is clean and has been “right sized” to match demand. A downtown transportation facility should be studied and considered. DPW is working with the State DOT to improve traffic (Smart) signaling on Granite and South Willow Streets. The goals are to reduce congestion and air pollution. The Enviromental Protection Division is managing the largest construction project in Manchester’s history. The combined Sewer and Stormwater is being separated with miles of new sanitary sewer mostly funded by the EPA along with City funding. These efforts will improve our environment and should be continued. We should continue to fund our road reconstruction program leveraging State funding as much as possible.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the city's civic pride and ideas on how to improve it?
We constantly see and hear the negativity of Manchester. Quite the contrary, I have met many residents that volunteer in the clean-ups throughout our city. Manchester Urban Ponds, Manchester Moves, and many other organizations regularly contribute to this effort. We have invested in repairing our historical markers and statues. Some of these projects were initiated by our residents who performed the research, contributing much time, effort and money. I appreciate and will continue to support these efforts. Our Parking Division is now managing duties previously performed by Intown Manchester. In addition to parking meter enforcement, they perform sidewalk maintenance. This will result in a cleaner Downtown.
What are your thoughts on any neighborhood specific issues in your ward as well as any plans on addressing those issues?
Traffic continues to be a major problem in Ward 9. The RAISE project will greatly improve the Queen City Ave./S. Willow/Cilley Rd. intersection, reduce congestion and provide bicycle and pedestrian access to downtown. In the near future, we anticipate the completion of the final section of the South Manchester Rail Trail. Commercial vehicles continue to be a problem for our residents. They operate on clearly posted residential streets. We have added additional signage, contacted businesses operating these vehicles and requested additional enforcement. I will continue to work on solutions for this problem.
What is your view on the main role of an Alderman?
In my view, the main role of an Alderman is to represent all the residents of their Ward. They provide the link to City services, advocate for issues and solve problems.