Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

December 13, 2012

Letter: School 'wants' should be tabled to pay for Bancroft overrun


The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

Is anyone reading the newspaper about Andover’s future “needs” - perhaps, better described as “wants”? There was an article outlining some of the town manager’s new requests in the Dec. 6 Andover Townsman that particularly caught my eye.

One “need” was a simple $3.5 million to repave the Doherty School area. Really? Is there not to be some already planned construction in that same area? Maybe repaving could wait and be part of that plan!

The second “need” listed was $600,000 for planning something listed as “school facility space.” Not quite sure what more space needs to be planned, but that amount certainly pays for a whole lot of planning. Is it something we missed before – something new? At $200 for each hour, that buys 3000 hours – 75 work weeks – that’s a big plan! How did we miss that?

Those two items alone total $4.1 million. There is yet another described as other school capital projects. What – where – when? The school budget should be all in one place not scattered all over the town budget. Those three alone would pay the $5 million, matching the first increment of “over the budget costs” already suggested to us for the new Bancroft Elementary School and to appear on the agenda for a Special Town Meeting in February.

A sub-headline in an article was “uncertain how the town will pay for projects.” That is certainly a truth! Is it not about time we all start to think about how much debt we plan to leave to our next generations? Debt from the town level, the state level and the national level is now huge. We can not borrow our way out of debt. It seems that the president, our governor and now Andover all seem to think we can. When is enough, enough? Folks have to think about it.

When I hear something about leaving debt to be decided by the voters, I hear code for another “override” vote. There is already a Special Town Meeting scheduled for February 2013. Proposition 2 1/2 was put in place to protect the taxpayer from excess spending, but make something an emotional issue, load a Town Meeting with “pro” voters and bingo, you have new debt exempt from the protection of Prop. 2 1/2.

What happened to the concept of saving, paying for what you need, creating a budget and sticking to it? Too old fashioned? Oh well, see you at the polls in February.

Calvin G. Perry

25 Timothy Drive