As First Ward Councilwoman and Deputy Mayor, Linda Habgood continues to demonstrate the financial savvy and committed leadership she promised to Westfield in 2017. She is a 4-year Chair of the Finance Policy Committee, a vocal member of the Planning Board, and a co-founder of the Westfield Mental Health Council, just to name a few of her impactful roles.
When it comes to financial decision-making, Councilwoman Habgood is a fierce proponent of questioning the status quo. Her efforts have resulted in cost savings and flexibility in our municipal budget, as evidenced by outsourcing the school crossing guards, leasing police vehicles and advocating for shared services in the Court and elsewhere. But the hallmark of Councilwoman Habgood’s financial leadership is best seen in her approach to taxpayer’s monies — keep savings at appropriate levels to manage through the rainy days and keep borrowing costs low, but never have excess funds sit in low-interest bearing coffers while critical infrastructure and community needs go unmet.
“Our AAA credit rating is both a source of pride and an asset,” said Councilwoman Habgood, who has dedicated her 32-year career in finance to building public/private partnerships. “If wisely used, it enables us to proactively drive redevelopment in town. We want to attract the best businesses while also diversifying our sources of revenue because raising property taxes can’t always be the answer.”
As a passionate liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission, Councilwoman Habgood has helped enact smart, user-friendly changes to our historic preservation ordinance, including advancing a resolution to allow for substantial tax abatement benefits for historic homeowners.
After 23 years of service, Councilwoman Habgood was recently elevated to Co-Chair of Delphos International, a global financial advisory business that facilitates foreign direct investment in emerging market’s healthcare, renewable energy, tech start-ups, telecommunications, and infrastructure projects. Her knack for structured finance and knowledge of the development banks have enabled the company to close more than $20 billion in transactions for 1,200+ clients around the world. Councilwoman Habgood was a Presidential Scholar at The College of William and Mary and holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
She and her husband, Gary Zanfagna, an antitrust lawyer, have two sons, both proud graduates of Westfield High School, who now attend the University of Pennsylvania: Phil, who will graduate in May 2021 and Andrew, a sophomore in The Wharton School. The family is deeply involved in the Presbyterian Church, where Habgood has served as a youth advisor since 2003.
“My commitment to making Westfield better has not waned one bit since I ran for office in 2017,” said Councilwoman Habgood. “I am excited to continue my work with the Brindle Administration — bringing beneficial redevelopment to fruition, while celebrating our historic roots and safeguarding the environment.”