Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

May 2, 2013

Major votes before Town Meeting

Budget, land buys, zoning questions to be decided

(Continued)

Budget: Balance efforts come down to wire

As is tradition, Town Meeting’s fourth article is the town’s annual operating budget. This year’s budget is proposed at $144.6 million, a 4.15 percent increase over last year.

In the days leading up to Town Meeting, school administrators and the School Committee have been working to refine their portion of the budget. The official breakdown of the budget puts the school portion at $68.6 million, but the school budget included pages later shows a gap of nearly $1 million at $69.6 million.

Since then, additional money has been discovered and other funding sources have opened up, bringing the deficit down to $293,532 as of Tuesday’s Townsman deadline.

That number was expected to be resolved at a tri-board meeting between the School Committee, Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee on Wednesday, Paula Colby-Clements of the school board said.

However, complications with the dollar amount attached to an unrelated Town Meeting article for West Middle School may take priority Wednesday, Colby-Clements said. Bids to replace the school’s heating system have come in higher than the article was written for, she said.

ID2: Zoning would enhance highway interchanges

Articles 50-52 seek to create a new Industrial 2 zoning district and place it on portions of Dascomb and River roads near the Route 93 interchanges.

A similar proposal last year, put forward as a private warrant article by a resident representing a Campanelli Drive property owner was withdrawn with the goal of letting the town take on the effort.

The district, which would be overlaid on top of the existing zoning in the two target areas, seeks to help foster the creation of more services for the businesses in that sector of town, Planning Director Paul Materazzo said.

Materazzo said there is now a lack of restaurants, grocery stores and other service-type businesses necessary to keep companies in town and help them to attract quality employees.

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