Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

February 20, 2014

Town Meeting article seeks support for four-legged friends

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

I am writing to clarify some issues around the dog park warrant articles coming before Town Meeting in May. There is missing information about the dog park in the Feb. 6 Townsman article, “Dog park, property tax freeze before Town Meeting.”

There are two warrant articles that have been submitted about the dog park. The first article seeks $60,000 from the general fund for construction of the dog park. Andover’s dog owners have been contributing to the general fund for many years through an annual requirement to buy a $13 dog license. In 2013, Andover’s 2,800 dog owners paid more than $37,000 into the general fund. This article asks that a portion of this money be allocated for the dog park, a natural use for the money paid by dog owners.

The article also states that any additional funds needed to build the park that are not provided by the town are to be funded by the Friends of Andover Dog Park. It is important to understand that the final cost of the dog park being built is like a moving target because of prevailing wages now required by the town.

The second warrant article requests that the Board of Selectmen increases the annual dog license fee by $6 for calendar years 2015 through 2018 to reimburse the town for the $60,000 commitment. This article is only necessary if the town approves the $60,000 as a loan rather than as a grant, as requested in the first warrant article. Should the funding from the general fund be approved as a grant, the increase in the dog license fee will not be necessary.

Andover dog owners have paid the monies requested by the warrant articles to the town for years. The money has been held in the general fund and it is time to give it back to our four-legged friends and build them a place to run free.

Charissa Rigano

18 Lincoln St.