Financial sustainabilityAndover property taxes and debt have grown far faster than inflation. This, on top of expensive real estate prices, makes Andover increasingly unaffordable, especially for young families and retired seniors and makes it difficult for a healthy cross-section of residents and Town employees to live here and small businesses to succeed in Town.
We must do a better job of planning and scheduling major projects and expenses, spacing and staging investments so that debts can be retired before new ones are approved. We should also ensure that assets and infrastructure needing regular maintenance and replacement are covered within normal operating budgets and do not require extra debt to support. I will request a twenty-five-year forecast for our largest needed investments.
Residents should be given more than one balanced budget alternative to choose from. Today, one budget is proposed at Town Meeting and it is very impractical for it to be questioned, debated, and amended there. I will request that at least two balanced budgets be considered, one with constrained spending growth and clear tradeoffs identified.