Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

January 23, 2014

Town manager: Break in major projects will keep debt down

Andover is cutting back on borrowing for major projects to control debt and reduce the impact on taxpayers, Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski told members of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce last week.

In his remarks to 300 people gathered at Andover Country Club for the annual mayors and town managers breakfast, Stapczynski said the town has made use of a new analysis tool that looks at all its long-term debt to determine the impact of tax overrides and borrowing on tax-paying homeowners and businesses.

The result was that in this year’s Capital Improvement Program, Stapczynski decided to pull back on major projects to reduce the impact on taxes.

As it stands, the Bancroft School project is expected to add significantly to the annual tax burden starting next year, as are other projects going forward, he said.

Stapczynski was just one of a half-dozen or more civic leaders who spoke at the annual breakfast, which was moderated by Sal Lupoli, chairman of the chamber who is also owner of Sal’s pizza chain and a real estate entrepreneur.

Stapczynski also spoke about several of the projects he was most proud of, including the soon-to-be built Andover Youth Center, which should start construction in the spring after years of delays.

Like other leaders, North Andover Town Manager Andy Maylor highlighted how health insurance costs were croaking the town budget, but that with a switch to a new, state-sponsored plan, the town will save $3 million while also seeing a reduction in retirees’ health care costs.

He noted that the town will also save $1 million over the next 20 years because it purchased all its streetlights from National Grid, taking over maintenance of them and making them more energy-efficient.

The newly elected mayor of Lawrence, meanwhile, told the crowd that people who want to do business in the Immigrant City no longer have to worry about being strong-armed by corrupt officials.

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