Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


March 6, 2014

Kowalski's tax break deserves attention


That’s what happened in December when property owners got their tax bills from the town. The first installment of the 20-year tax hike for the Bancroft School hit tax bills that were due in February. And that’s when the phones started ringing and selectmen and other town officials were getting stopped in the street as people complained about high taxes.

During a recent meeting, selectmen and Finance Committee members debated whether people realized what would happen when the cost of Bancroft hit their tax bills.

It makes one shudder to think what would happen if Town Meeting ever approves a $20 million plan to move the town yard, along with the proposed $6 million to $7 million plan to build a new Ballardvale fire station. Add in the potential cost of a major high school overhaul — pegged at something like $10 million — and the cost of purchasing the Phillips boathouse for another $1 million. Then add on the cost of building a new early-childhood education center for another $1 million to $2 million. Before long, you’re talking about serious money. And serious decisions.

To his credit, Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski has also heard the hue and cry, holding off on proposing any major, new capital projects this year, although there are many more projects being paid for through borrowing. He seems to have heard the message: Enough is enough.

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