As I campaign for the office of mayor in Methuen, I am asked frequently about items that would be part of a new administration's agenda.
There truly is a lot to do, but some of the items that would require immediate attention include the following:
Development: I have heard much talk during the campaign about the rate of development in Methuen. Methuen, like many communities, has seen a spike in residential development. With Chapter 40B being a main culprit, I believe it is time for Methuen to review its Master Plan, with an eye to proactively dealing with Chapter 40B, as well as other planning issues. Since we remain below our ten-percent threshold, we will remain in a reactive mode as developers file for additional projects. We should attempt to become the masters of our own destiny through new planning.
Economic Development: It is my intent to present a reorganization of the Economic and Community Development Department to the City Council within 30 days of taking office. While a formal plan is not yet written, I have asked that former Mayor Dennis DiZoglio, former Economic Development Director Bill Buckley, and Planning Board Chair Steve Defeo, make recommendations to me on this reorganization. It is my intent to reintegrate Economic Development with Planning, thereby eliminating one department head position. Nothing we do will have a greater impact on Methuens ability to meet its future needs.
Traffic Mitigation: I continue to work with Senator Baddour relative to the Brooks Pharmacy area. In the short term, I will work to see that the state releases the proper permits so that the traffic cones can be replaced with a traffic island, and that the Howe Street Bridge is restriped. The traffic signals must be synchronized properly, as well. I will ask the city council to approve funding for a traffic study in conjunction with the state to determine what additional improvements could be made to the intersection. The rotary at Route 93 remains a critical piece for Methuen and the state, and I will work with Senator Baddour and Congressman Meehan to see this project through. It is my hope that we can work with the state to help fix the intersection at Cross and Pelham (Rte. 93) and help foster both better traffic flow for our citizens as well as easier access for business in the area.
Regulatory Streamlining: It is my intent to search for ways to reduce regulatory red tape for both citizens and business. It is my intention to study our current regulatory burden and seek through such study to eliminate unnecessary paperwork and expense. I believe that through a simple use of information technology we can achieve some measure of relief. An example would be the filing of paperwork already with the city from prior years filings.
Postal Service: I will continue to make the case to Congressman Meehan and postal officials that Methuen needs a new post office. In the interim, we need additional satellite offices, and will work towards one in the West End. Ultimately, however a community of Methuens size needs a new, modern postal facility centrally located.
Information Technology: Methuens website will be overhauled immediately, and we will explore new, cutting edge ways of communicating with our citizens. Information technology will be a way to bring government closer to the public, and will make us more accessible.
Renovation of Methuen High School: I will look to see what, if any, recommendations have come out of the High School Study Committee. I will convene an executive group to ascertain what immediate steps need to be taken to move us towards successful acquisition of state assistance in this endeavor. Although the new state entity dealing with funding has yet to issue final guidelines, it is my desire to outline a timetable for Methuen with regards to this project. Our needs are clear in this area and we must create a process, and then move it forward.
These are not the only issues, but they are some of the more prominent ones being mentioned to me by the people I am meeting during the campaign. Methuen has a new fire chief, and he has some very interesting ideas about managing our fire department. Public safety will continue to be a priority, as will the creation of a larger community center in our Arlington Neighborhood, and continued excellence in our Department of Public Works. I am committed to working with our youth groups to properly manage our fields, and if possible, expand our existing inventory. Our recreation program, as well as continued after school activities, will be a top priority in my administration. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail. Please remember to participate in our democracy by taking the opportunity to vote on November 8th.
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