EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 3, 2013

Town leaders, state legislators to talk about money matters

NORTH ANDOVER — The town’s leaders will press North Andover’s state legislators on aid to schools and other financial matters Monday morning.

The selectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee are scheduled to meet with Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, and Reps. James Lyons, R-Andover and Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, at 8 a.m. at Town Hall.

”We like to meet with our legislative delegation once or twice a year,” School Committee Chairwoman Laurie Burzlaff explained. They will urge the legislators to advocate for as much financial help for cities and towns as possible, Burzlaff said.

The Legislature is still in the early stages of crafting a budget for the fiscal year that will begin July 1. Town Manager Andrew Maylor, who recently presented a spending plan with an overall increase of 2.36 percent over what was appropriated last year, said he based his numbers on state aid being the same as it was last year.

Burzlaff, Board of Selectmen Chairman William Gordon and Finance Committee Chairman Alan LeBovidge hope that the Legislature will be more benevolent to communities this year.

State aid will not be the only thing on the agenda for this session. The town officials also want to talk about obtaining an exemption from at least some of the provisions of the state prevailing wage law.

Selectman Rosemary Connelly Smedile has long advocated giving relief to towns and cities from this law, which requires that workers hired for municipal construction projects be paid union rates.

Smedile said the prevailing wage law made renovating the former Bradstreet School too expensive for the town to undertake. The town officials and legislators will also be discussing how to deal with budgeting for other post employment benefits (OPEB), retirement reform and economic development.

More specific to North Andover, the local leaders are expected to renew their bid to have the state Department of Transportation feature the town’s name more prominently on the signs along Interstate 495.

The signs that tell motorists when to make the turn to get onto Route 114 east, for example, advise them hat’s the way to go to Middleton — but no mention of North Andover, through which one must drive for several miles before arriving in Middleton.

The selectmen also intend to make their case for making the Route 114 highway safer for pedestrians.

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