Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

January 24, 2013

Town Talk


The Andover Townsman

---- — Town Manager: What about the youth center?

A preliminary version of this year’s Annual Town Meeting warrant lists 59 articles covering everything from building renovations to land and vehicle purchases.

But as it stands, you won’t find the Cormier Youth Center on there at all — even though two articles to resolve issues with the project before construction starts were pulled from the Special Town Meeting warrant for next month to face Annual Town Meeting voters on April 29.

“When I received the warrant this morning, I discovered that three warrant articles I wanted to have on the preliminary list weren’t included as of Friday” when the warrant closed, Stapczynski said.

The third article focuses on another priority town project — a contingency measure for raising money to put the Bancroft Elementary School project back on budget. Should voters turn down a plan to raise $5.7 million at Special Town Meeting next month, another article would be needed to keep the project moving forward, officials have said.

But just because they were left off the warrant, that doesn’t mean they won’t come before voters, Stapczynski said.

“I’ll ask the selectmen at their meeting Monday night to open and close the preliminary warrant to include these articles,” Stapczynski said.

— Dustin Luca

Lyons: Cut taxes, provide more

state aid

Since his reelection as a state representative, Andover’s Jim Lyons has increased his press releases outlining his positions.

Recently he joined other Republican lawmakers on a release critical of Gov. Deval Patrick’s transportation plan.

“The Patrick Administration has already increased our taxes,” said Rep. Lyons in the release. “They pushed through both a 25 percent sales tax hike and 25 percent meals tax hike. With the Patrick Administration, there’s never enough tax dollars to satisfy them. There’s always an excuse to extract something more from hardworking taxpaying families.

“We need reform in state government, not unending tax hikes,” Lyons’ statement continued. “Every day news reports chronicle the scandals in the administration’s shoddy drug testing labs and in its lack of oversight of pharmaceutical manufacturing. It’s time to put a halt to these excesses. Instead of reforming state government, the Patrick Administration insists on pressing more and more burdensome taxes on working families.”

In another release two days later, Lyons said he supported a couple of Patrick’s positions.

“I strongly support rolling back the sales tax to 4.5 percent. After the punishing 25-percent sales tax hike Gov. Patrick pushed through in 2010, this rollback will provide essential tax relief to small retail businesses and all consumers in the Merrimack Valley,” Lyons stated.

“The appropriate funding of Chapter 70,” Lyons stated, “is long overdue. I proposed such legislation in (2012). At that time, the Patrick Administration fought against us. I am pleased that the governor has changed his position and now supports some of my local aid ideas.”

Campaign issue pursued

Andover Selectman Alex Vispoli has filed legislation through Jim Lyons to change state laws on campaign finance. His bill will require more transparency and allow voters to know who is paying for promotional literature. Vispoli last year lost a primary race for state senate to Paul Adams.

“Last year I received a ton of comments and support from people when I suggested my campaign finance reform plan. It was clear that people want more transparency when electing their officials, so I decided to file this important bill despite not winning the Senate seat,” said Vispoli.

Vispoli wants to eliminate cash donations to stop anonymous donations, and have full disclosure of who is responsible for all donations, campaign literature and phone calls.

Trying out comedy

The Great American Tavern in North Reading, just over the line from Andover on Route 28, is stepping into the world of stand up comedy starting Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. with a triple headliner show starring Las Vegas regulars Jim Lauletta and Frank Santorelli along with Boston favorite James Dorsey.

Tickets are $15 and may be purchased in advance through the Great American Tavern located on Main Street in North Reading or at the door the night of the show.

Santorelli is a Las Vegas regular and is best known for playing Georgie the Bartender in the award winning HBO TV series “The Sopranos.”

“We think the people of the area will support this type of high level comedy and if they do, we’re planning to make these types of comedy shows a monthly event,” said Michael Labo, the tavern’s general manager.