BURRILLVILLE – Council candidate Dennis Anderson says he first got involved in the workings of town government following Burrillville’s 2006 property revaluation.
“My tax valuation went up a ridiculous amount,” Anderson said.
Anderson says he met with the appraisal company, and learned that his property was the highest valued in the entire municipality.
He eventually got that value reduced – although he was still third on the list – and says the experience made him want to pay more attention to how his money was being spent.
Anderson said he has attended Town Council meetings since, along with as many meetings as he could of the Burrillville Redevelopment Agency, the Planning Board and the Pascoag Fire District.
A Minnesota native, Anderson said he learned about work ethic, and the value of a dollar at a young age, picking wild mustard from the fields on his grandfather’s farm for 1 cent each at the age of 7. At age 10, he says he greased and washed his father’s semi-trucks for $5 each. At 16, while in high school, he worked full time at a truck stop fueling trucks and changing tires for $1.60 an hour.
“In college, I paid my own way by driving a mail truck at 3:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. for $5 an hour,” he said.
In 2014, he says council members encouraged hime to apply for the town’s Budget Board.
“I am good with numbers and am glad I decided to do it,” he said. “I have really become familiar with both the capital and operating budgets, as well as the department heads and key players for the town and school.”
An engineer with a master’s in business administration, Anderson graduated first in class from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1985. He was also first in class earning his bachelor’s in science at North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D. in 1977.
He was the recipient of Risk & Insurance Magazine 2012 Innovator Award for conceiving, designing and building the FM Global SimZone hands-on training facility in Norwood, Mass.
In 2015, he became a member of the Charter Review Commission, and was elected vice chairman.
“We went through every section, every sentence, every word, every section number reference, reviewed every submitted suggestion, etc.,” Anderson said. “It was a great experience that led to some corrections by Town Council resolution and about a half-dozen ballot issues.”
A Pascoag resident for the past 17 years, Anderson worked for 40 years at FM Global in an engineering and management position.
Over the years, he says many people have urged him to run for the council, including Wallace F. Lees, the man after whom the Burrillville Public Safety Complex is now named.
“My answer was always that I didn’t have time to do it justice while I was working,” he said.
Anderson retired in 2016, but says he was content with the slate of candidates and town leadership at the time.
This election cycle, he says, is a different story, noting he “had visions of a majority that concerned me.”
A fiscal conservative who says he takes in a “common sense” approach to government, Anderson said he believes in balancing Burrillville’s rural character with the right kind of sensible growth.
“I believe in getting the most value out of every dollar spent,” he said. “I believe in reducing and resisting debt.”
In retirement, he notes, “I have time to give the councilor job as much focus as it deserves.”
Anderson lists under his most pressing concerns declining state aid, and town expenses outpacing tax revenue growth. He also points to the need for a new tax valuation agreement with Ocean State Power.
“I bring a working knowledge on day one that no other non-incumbent can match,” he said.
Anderson also serves as a director on the WellOne board and as a lay leader of United Methodist Church in East Douglas, Mass. He has been married to wife Melinda Anderson for 28 years and is the father of three children, two of whom graduated from Burrillville High School.
“I care how my taxpayer dollars are used. The next four years will definitely have important financial and personnel decisions. I understand the impending issues and challenges,” Anderson said. “I know what is going on.”
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