EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 6, 2013

Lantigua proclaims successes and assails his critics

(Continued)

He said he also will ask the council for funding to buy high-powered rifles for police cruisers to provide police with “the same weaponry that may be confronting them on the streets and in hostage situations.”

He said he would step up efforts to combat the illegal dumping, by installing more surveillance cameras at hot spots.

He said he will hire seven firefighters over the next few months as part of an ongoing, federally funded program to restock Fire Department ranks following the attrition and layoffs of 2009 and 2010.

Otherwise, Lantigua spent the evening tallying his successes of his first term and detailing the record he will run on as he seeks a second.

“Although some choose not to see it, those in the financial world state otherwise, not because they want to do me a favor but because that’s the realty,” Lantigua said, referring to the uptick in the city’s bond rating by one Wall Street credit rating agency and the upgrade in the outlook for city borrowing by another.

He said graduation rates in the schools are up, crime is down, streets are cleaner, more cops and firefighters are on the job and the city’s garbage trucks are fully automated. He said his new director of Veterans Services, Jamie Melendez, has doubled the number of former service men and women receiving benefits, which may have been a gentle jab at the program’s former director, Francisco Urena, who gave up the job last year to take a similar one for the city of Boston.

He noted several new developments that broke ground or cut ribbons last year, including a CVS drug store on Broadway and the new campus for Northern Essex Community College under construction on Common Street.

He also cited the improvements to local parks, including the construction of the Spicket River Greenway and the improvements to Campagnone Common, the ongoing upgrades to the city sewer and water systems, and the repaving of 31 streets last year (including Boxford Street, where he lives). All the improvements were funded almost entirely with state and federal money.

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