This information was submitted to the LongmeadowBuzz blog by Sanjiv Reejhsinghani who is running as a candidate in the Preliminary Election on February 7 for the open Select Board seat.
First of all, I want to thank the editor of the LongmeadowBuzz blog for allowing all the candidates for the upcoming Select Board Special Town Election to post profiles on this very valuable site. Hopefully, these profiles will allow our townspeople to make as informed an opinion as possible while voting in the preliminary election on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.
For those people that don’t know me, I have deep and long-lasting ties to the community of Longmeadow, MA. Although I originally spent my adolescence in the nearby community of Wilbraham, MA, my family moved to Longmeadow after I turned 15, and I spent three rewarding years at Longmeadow High School (LHS), where I served as editor of the high-school newspaper, The Jet Jotter, and participated on the varsity swim team, concert band, wind ensemble (thank you Michael Mucci and Peter Thomsen), National Honor Society, as well as captained the math and science teams.
Over the past 30 years, the bonds of friendship I forged with my LHS classmates have only strengthened with time. Many of these friends have now moved back to the area and have started their own families, and their children now attend schools within our elite Longmeadow public school system, which I believe to be the town’s greatest resource and attraction for other families hoping to move into Longmeadow so that their children can also share in the greatest educational opportunities possible.
My parents both emigrated from India in the 1960s, and my father, now retired, worked as a chemical engineer at a plant in the Indian Orchard section of Springfield, while my mother continues to work full-time as a solo pediatrician in her late 70s. Theirs is the American dream personified: my father was able to come to the United States in the 1960s by pursuing a doctorate degree, and my mother started her own successful medical practice when no commercial landlords would rent her office space to practice medicine in the early 1970s because she was both foreign-born, and a woman (back then, there were relatively few women enrolled in American medical schools).
After graduating from LHS, I enrolled in Emory College of Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where I graduated with a B.A. in English, then I finished up a dual Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)/Master of Healthcare Administration (M.H.A.) graduate degrees at Georgia State University in Atlanta. I was also lucky enough to volunteer as a First Responder/medic both in college and at the Paralympic Games in Atlanta. In Atlanta, I worked in administration for the State of Georgia Health Planning Association and the Georgia Department of Medical Assistance.
After moving back to Longmeadow in early 2000, I worked as an outside sales consultant for several pharmaceutical companies, and I also helped my mother with back-office duties at her pediatric practice. I went to Western New England School of Law as a part-time evening student, where I served in the student government, was president of the Health Law Association, participated in the National Health Law Moot Court competition, and was elected as Senior of the Year of my graduating law school class. I also completed three legal aid trips to under served areas of the country while in law school.
My commitment to public service has continued since finishing law school, where I currently am on the Board of Directors of the South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut, and I volunteer regularly via the Hampden County Bar Association pro bono outreach initiatives. I currently serve on the Executive Board of the Real Estate Section of the Hampden County Bar Association, and I am one of 16 attorneys across Massachusetts currently leading the Business Law Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
I’ve had the benefit of serving as a key volunteer for both former State Senator Eric Lesser (whom I’ve known since he was in high school) during his 2014 and 2016 campaigns, as well as State Representative Brian Ashe during numerous election cycles. Indeed, it was Dr. Martin Lesser, Eric’s dad (and whom I’ve known for decades), who, in part, inspired me to run for political office, after he recently asked me “when I was going to run for something”. This, along with inspiration gleaned from President Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote that “the courage belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,” have led to my candidacy today for this Special Election for Select Board.
I believe that my business acumen, and my experience as an attorney in the real estate sector, as well as my experience as a real estate broker and active real estate investor, can help Longmeadow navigate some challenging budgetary times ahead.
Longmeadow is facing an existential crisis as its tax revenues have a continuous shortfall compared to the rising expenditures of running the town. By 2033, it will have reached the Proposition 2½ tax ceiling (it is estimated), and state legislative approval would be needed to increase the mill rate beyond the $25.00 per $1,000 in property tax value. Right now, Longmeadow has a property tax rate of $22.92/ $1000 tax rate, and residential real estate and commercial real estate rates are both taxed at the same rate.
It may be possible for Longmeadow to institute different tax rates (like in Springfield) where commercial buildings (the commercial tax rate) are taxed at an elevated rate to residential homeowners to generate much-needed tax revenue. However, for certain types of commercial leases (especially double-net or
triple-net commercial leases), the commercial tenant (business owner)
might have to shoulder such a pro-rated commercial property tax increase
(especially if there's a tax escalator involved), so I am not in
favor of a dual (residential and commercial) tax rate at the present
Furthermore, Longmeadow needs to actively plan for budgeting for a potential new consolidated singular middle school if renovations are not practical or feasible for either or both middle school locations. This is a given in that both Glenbrook Middle School and Williams Middle School are both in disrepair, and the useful life of both buildings has long begun to wane.
Finally, after enjoying Long Meddowe Days for decades on the town green, I found it unfortunate when that mid-May festival disappeared a few years ago. Last October, the Long Meddowe Fall Festival was a welcome destination for families and townspeople that sorely missed the old fair. I believe that these types of festivals and gatherings should be encouraged (and funded) at the town level to bring a greater degree of social touch points to our town, and possibly a Long Meddowe Spring Festival could be considered, as well, down the road, in either the short or long-term.