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FOR YOUR FUTURE

This month I will formally announce my candidacy for the office of Mayor. I intend to offer a campaign that is positive and focused on the issues critical to building a better future for Methuen. That future, in my view, requires strong, and decisive leadership from the Mayor -- as the challenges facing Methuen in the next five years will impact our city for many years to come. These challenges, while sometimes listed as separate subjects, are all connected to each other in subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways. Let’s start with education.

Methuen needs to address immediately the deficiencies of the existing High School. Our future accreditation will be in danger if we fail to act, and the existing High School, in the years to come, will not allow us to deliver the education that Methuen students deserve. Simply stating a desire to build a high school, however, will not make it happen. Major changes have occurred in the way the state dispenses school building assistance, with new rules and regulations to be promulgated next year.

The City must be prepared to act when the current moratorium expires in July of 2007. To that end, I have filed, and City Council passed, legislation creating a committee to study and report on what steps must be taken to insure Methuen is properly prepared to meet this goal. Our next Mayor needs to prepare both a workable plan and a building process that produces the best bang for the taxpayer’s buck. The future success of this project will rely on the Mayor’s ability to build consensus locally, to work strongly and effectively with our State House delegation, and to have the management expertise necessary to insure that the project is completed on time and on budget. My public and private experience provides me with the tools to reach those goals.

  A successful educational future for Methuen students entails more than a new high school. As a father of two Tenney School students, I realize that the Mayor chairing our School Committee is amongst the Mayor’s biggest responsibilities. I will work tirelessly with teachers, administrators, and our school superintendent to insure that our students are adequately prepared to compete in this global economy.  A first-rate educational system provides for more than just our students. It is a catalyst for higher property values and a major factor examined by business as they look to relocate or expand. It is fair to say that major economic development would be significantly more difficult without a first-rate educational system. And that leads us right into economic development.

Economic development is a linchpin for our future. It will become even more important in the next few years, as tightening budgets at the state and local level make walking the budget tightrope even more difficult. Good economic development has the obvious effect of lowering the tax burden on residential homeowners and reducing the demand for municipal resources. I will immediately look at new and better ways to promote economic development, and will seek counsel from those with vast experience in the field as we look to organize this municipal function to produce the maximum result. We will seek, as an overriding principle, to be business friendly, and will work to reduce needless paperwork and red tape. This principle will not only apply to business, but to the general public as well. We will make the business of interacting with City government both friendly and more convenient.

Our future as a City is dependent on a strong public safety sector. I will work, as I have in the past, with the chiefs of our public safety departments to insure that they have the necessary tools to provide the public with the very best in public safety. I will undertake a review of operating methods at both the Police and Fire Departments, in conjunction with the management staffs as well as the rank-and-file officers and firefighters, to insure that we are as efficient as we can be while delivering premium service.

Methuen is a great city, brimming with energy and populated by people with a real sense of community. In the areas of providing further recreational opportunities for our kids, to managing the critical functions of our D.P.W, to providing needed services to our seniors, as well as our veterans community, I pledge to you to be a Mayor who looks to use the building blocks provided by the people of this great community to build a better future for all of our citizens.    

We have done much, but there is still much to be done. Working together we can build a better Methuen!

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Prior Columns by Billy Manzi