Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

April 3, 2014

Town needs balanced approach to fiscal woes

(Continued)

It’s critical that the town work much harder to attract commercial taxpayers to Andover. Businesses large and small want faster permitting, good highway access and amenity-rich development zones. The Andover Economic Development Council has done a good job in developing a set of priorities for the town. These priorities will make the community more competitive in the competition for employers, where Andover has fallen behind, as evidenced by Barry Bluestone’s presentation to the community last November.

Lastly, progress for Andover needs to encompass all citizens: seniors, parents, children, singles, town employees and large and small businesses. For example, the town should offer solutions for seniors who are struggling with increasing property tax bills. The town of Lexington is just one example of a town that has made the process extremely transparent, even highlighting the ability for seniors, under Clause 41A, to defer part or all of their property tax liability until they sell their homes later in life or when their estate is settled. See the Lexington town website at lexingtonma.gov.

Many ideas get raised in public forums that try to solve the town’s fiscal problems with quick fixes, or by attacking teachers, town employees, retirees, seniors, businesses or some other group. It’s time to stop the blame game and move forward with solutions where all parties recognize that prudent spending, improving our schools, addressing retiree and OPEB costs, and getting more commercial tax growth all must be addressed to sustain Andover as a great place to live and work.

Greg Sebasky

15 Muirfield Circle

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