Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 21, 2013

Three compete to be selectmen for next three years


The Andover Townsman

---- — PAUL SALAFIA

Incumbent

AGE: 65

ADDRESS: 283 South Main St., Andover

FAMILY: Margaret (wife) Paul and David (sons)

RESIDENT OF ANDOVER SINCE: 1976

OCCUPATION W/EMPLOYER NAME: Advertising agency president, Advertising Management Services Inc.

Please rank the following four projects that are expected to come before the town over the next several years (1 being most important of the four, 4 being the least important of the four, to you). Please pick one of the following for each of these four project above: must do immediately; must address during next three years; support, but it’s a lower priority; and unnecessary expense for foreseeable future.

1. Create new Town Yard – Must Do Immediately

2. Ballardvale Fire Station – Must address during next three years

3. Andover High addition - Must address during next three years

4. Early education center (preK) - Must address during next three years

You have 150 words to further explain your priorities regarding these four projects (limit: 150 words).

The deterioration and age of the town yard and its unique location in our downtown make this project my top priority. If passed, Article 30 would allow the Town to carefully redevelop the present site as a “Transit Oriented” development. Also addressed, would be the much needed traffic issues at the intersection of Pearson, Essex and Railroad Streets. As part of the redevelopment, the Town would consider several known areas where the existing Town Yard could be relocated. A majority of the Selectmen and Planning Board support Town Yard relocation and redevelopment on another site.

The Ballardvale Fire Station project is still undergoing study. Conclusions will be forthcoming.

Article 35 will allow a “School Facility Space Needs Study”. If passed, this study will provide us with information needed to address the overcrowding at Andover High, as well as to set priorities for future school space needs at all levels.

Please answer YES, NO or UNDECIDED to each of the following statements on the Town Yard issue.

I support doing nothing for the foreseeable future. NO

I support rebuilding the Town Yard downtown, where it is now. NO

I support moving the Town Yard. YES

I support moving it, and selling the town land it sits on. YES

I support rezoning the land to allow for businesses and homes. YES

I support spending up to $10 million on the Town Yard solution. UNDECIDED

I support spending up to $20 million on the Town Yard solution. UNDECIDED

I support spending more than $20 million on the Town Yard solution. NO

I’m concerned about contamination at the site. YES

Please further explain what you would like to see happen regarding the Town Yard and its land (up to 125 words).

Salafia: Residents have identified public transportation and housing as important issues. The 2012 Citizens Survey revealed a strong desire for more public transportation options and a wider range of housing, particularly for seniors. A carefully designed “Transit Oriented” development for the present Town Yard and surrounding neighborhood will address that need. It will revitalize the area, and bring more public transportation options to Andover. An influx of new residential units and small businesses will increase tax revenues.

Keeping the cost of a new Town Yard down is essential. Several projects already approved by voters are likely to significantly impact our residents’ tax bills. I support selling the present Town Yard parcel and using the proceeds to help offset the cost of rebuilding at a new site.

What one big idea do you have to improve Andover during the next three years (up to 100 words)?

Salafia: I believe the new Route 93 Interchange offers exciting opportunity for Andover. I hope that the improving economy will result in renewed effort to complete this long awaited project. Initial estimates indicate that the commercial/industrial development, improved public transportation and varied housing options could bring thousands of new jobs and significant new tax revenues to our town and to the region. Projects such as this enhance our commercial tax base and help keep our residential taxes down. I will work to bring our state and federal delegations together to help achieve final approval and funding.

What letter grade would you give the town for its handling of large projects during the last few years? (A through F)

Why? (You have up to 75 words)

Salafia: Overall a C+. Major municipal construction projects are extremely challenging. Regulations governing the public bidding process, union wage restrictions and complex permitting processes dramatically drive up project costs and add to delays. And, as with the Bancroft School, circumstances outside the town’s control can cause delays, which increase costs. Offsetting this is our AAA bond rating, which keeps our borrowing costs low.

What must be completed during the next three years for you to consider your term a success? (Up to 50 words).

1. Build a new Town Yard

2. Build the Youth Center

3. Reduce our long term OPEB liabilities

4. Create an “In Lieu of Taxes” program asking that non tax paying entities assist in defraying costs of services the town now provides.

5. Make the new Rt. 93 Interchange a reality.

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LARRY BRUCE

AGE: 54

ADDRESS: 254 Chandler Road

FAMILY: Wife Pamela Bruce; daughter Ally, an AHS graduate

RESIDENT OF ANDOVER SINCE: 1989

OCCUPATION W/EMPLOYER NAME: Engineer, Hewlett Packard

Please rank the following four projects (Create new Town Yard, Ballardvale Fire Station, Andover High addition, early education center) that are expected to come before the town over the next several years (1 being most important of the four, 4 being the least important of the four, to you). Please pick one of the following for each of these four project above: “must do immediately”; must address during next three years; support, “but it’s a lower priority”; or “unnecessary expense for foreseeable future.”

Bruce: With all due respect, this is an overly assumptious question, I don’t see any project listed that must be done immediately. What should be on this list is an immediate and comprehensive financial review of all town expenditures. As to an unnecessary expense, the Town Yard land give-a-way is a ridiculous plan. ANY plan for improvements to the Town Yard need to divorced from a land sale. Andover’s valuable land is our town’s asset, not a gift for developers. If there was no bundled plan this boondoggle would never see the light of day again. I need your vote on Tuesday.

Please answer YES, NO or UNDECIDED to each of the following statements on the Town Yard issue.

I support doing nothing for the foreseeable future. YES

I support rebuilding the Town Yard downtown, where it is now. YES

I support moving the Town Yard. YES

I support moving it, and selling the town land it sits on. NO

I support rezoning the land to allow for businesses and homes. NO

I support spending up to $10 million on the Town Yard solution. UNDECIDED

I support spending up to $20 million on the Town Yard solution. UNDECIDED

I support spending more than $20 million on the Town Yard solution. NO

I’m concerned about contamination at the site. YES

Please further explain what you would like to see happen regarding the Town Yard and its land (up to 125 words).

Bruce: I have yet to see a financial analysis which proves the need for a new location. The premise that we need an indoor truck wash is flawed. An indoor truck wash is the LAST thing the town of Andover needs. It’s telling that there was an onsite land-value study conducted with town of Andover funds. That study showed the value of our present Town Yard land if it were to be privately developed. Why did Andover pay for this study? It is because this project is driven by the wish to rezone the land to high density use which will reap windfall profits for the developers. Our selectmen need to think of our residents first, not their campaign supporters.

What one big idea do you have to improve Andover during the next three years (up to 100 words)?

Bruce: It’s far past time to address the traffic jam at our high school each school day. A simple idea? It sure is. That this weekday mess has not made it to the town manager’s goals is a glaring failure of our present Board of Selectmen. It’s time to recognize the problem and find a solution. We deserve better, far better town leadership. The residents are consistently put last in Andover. I need your vote to change our town for the better.

What letter grade would you give the town for its handling of large projects during the last few years? (A through F)

Why? (You have up to 75 words)

Bruce: F. The downtown renewal took our trees and gave us almost nothing for our tax dollars. We have been given a choice of a youth center but not a community center for all. Our planning isn’t really planning — it’s just poor guessing at best. A smarter Board of Selectmen would have seen the long term savings of community center to serve all ages. We’re all being shorted with two centers, staffs, and nothing for the middle-aged folks.

What must be completed during the next three years for you to consider your term a success? (Up to 50 words).

Bruce: We need tough goals that bring value back to us, the residents. A 10 percent reduction in our expenditures should be a goal. On Tuesday, please vote for me, Larry Bruce, that I may work to make Andover a better town for the residents.

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ALEX VISPOLI

Incumbent

AGE: 56

ADDRESS: 7 Alison Way

FAMILY: Wife, Ann (Maguire) Vispoli; children Colleen Vispoli Callahan, Alexander Vispoli, Christine Vispoli and Kevin Vispoli

RESIDENT OF ANDOVER SINCE:

OCCUPATION:

Please rank the following four projects that are expected to come before the town over the next several years (1 being most important of the four, 4 being the least important of the four, to you). Please pick one of the following for each of these four project: “Must do immediately”; “must address during next three years”; “support, but it’s a lower priority”; or “unnecessary expense for foreseeable future”.

1. Create new Town Yard - Must do immediately

2. Andover High addition - Must addressed during next three years

3. Ballardvale Fire Station - Must addressed during next three years;

4. Early education center (preK) - Support, but it’s a lower priority.

You have 150 words to further explain your priorities regarding these four projects (limit: 150 words).

The Town Yard group of buildings is in immediate need of replacement. Whether we rebuild on the current site or move to another location, this is and has been the most urgent need of the above projects. Cost will be key in the best solution.

Andover High School enrollment is greater than its design. Current enrollment is aproximately 1,820 students and was designed for 1,600.

A study of possible high school building expansion options for the growing student population is being proposed for this Town Meeting. The same study will also explore options for an Early Childhood Education Center, currently being housed at Shawsheen School. The study will also take in consideration the overall elementary student population.

The 100-year-old Ballardvalle Fire Station needs additional review regarding potential change in location. The station does not currently support ambulance service will need to be replaced.

Please answer YES, NO or UNDECIDED to each of the following statements on the Town Yard issue.

I support doing nothing for the foreseeable future. NO

I support rebuilding the Town Yard downtown, where it is now. YES *

I support moving the Town Yard. YES *

I support moving it, and selling the town land it sits on. YES

I support rezoning the land to allow for businesses and homes. YES

I support spending up to $10 million on the Town Yard solution. UNDECIDED

I support spending up to $20 million on the Town Yard solution. NO

I support spending more than $20 million on the Town Yard solution. NO

I’m concerned about contamination at the site. UNDECIDED (It’s unclear without a full technical review the impact of the contamination and liability.)

Please further explain what you would like to see happen regarding the Town Yard and its land (up to 125 words).

We have an opportunity to rezone the current Town Yard location this Town Meeting. New zoning will increase the value of the Town Yard site. With the location of the commuter rail station, and the expanded train service (with the new double tracking) there’s opportunity for potentially state-funded Transit Oriented development on the site. Included would be a possible much needed re-configuration of the intersection at the railroad tracks.

If the zoning proposal passes, true value of the site can be determined with an RFP process. That has been the missing component in recent discussion / proposals, for an offset cost potential.

Town Meeting voters will make the decision on this opportunity. I favor the rezoning and relocation, only if the project is cost-effective. I’d support rebuilding it where it is, if voters reject the zoning proposal.

What one big idea do you have to improve Andover during the next three years (up to 100 words)?

Economic Development Council expanding their effort to continue increasing the economic vitality of Andover, increase job growth and strengthen the tax base.

This could include:

An expansion of the Core Business District downtown providing more locations for small businesses.

Support, passage and development of the business overlay district in the River Road area providing more shopping and services to residents and businesses in west Andover.

Relook at the parking program downtown and explore improvements working with the business community.

Develop a plan for attracting additional TIF projects (similar to the success bringing Schneider Electric to Andover with 500+ new jobs).

What letter grade would you give the town for its handling of large projects during the last few years? (A through F)

Why? (You have up to 75 words)

Overall, B.

Overall good job with the Town’s Energy Program implementation earning Andover the Green Communities designation resulting in significant energy savings and over $300,000 in energy grants. Good job with the Town Center reconstruction. There is always room for improvement with large municipal construction projects. The recent Bancroft cost issue resulted in delays that were initiated by two abutters who tied up the project with unsuccessful legal actions.

What must be completed during the next three years for you to consider your term a success? (Up to 50 words).

A solution for the Town Yard. This is critical for maintenance of our buildings, schools, roads, equipment and safety of our employees. The replacement either at a new location or on the current site must be a cost-efficient solution. A new Town Yard will serve Andover for the next 75+ years.