Methuen Has Some Challenges Ahead
Billy Manzi

>>Valley Patriot>>

As we come closer to the municipal election cycle, the City of Methuen faces many challenges. The City has done many things well, but as with all municipalities the road ahead can still be bumpy. The following are some key areas that require attention.

Our educational system: We must continue to allocate the necessary resources to maintain excellence in our public schools, and we must begin to take immediate steps to deal with the renovation of Methuen High School. It is my goal, working with the Mayor, the City Council, the School Committee, and the Superintendent, to take the first steps well in advance of the next mayoral election.

Accordingly, I have filed legislation to create a High School Renovation Committee to bring all community elements together to make the necessary preparations for the next round of S.B.A.B. financing Our seniors: We as a community must always remember that our seniors are our heart and soul. We need to maintain and, where possible, expand existing services to our seniors, and we must do what we can to provide our seniors with viable housing options. Housing proposals that make special provisions for our seniors need to be promoted. Seniors should not be chased from their home communities because of housing! The wisdom of their years should bring to them the respect and dignity they deserve.

Public Safety:

Our neighborhoods must continue to be protected from crime, and we shall define crime and nuisance broadly, so that issues affecting the quality of life in our neighborhoods shall be dealt with swiftly and effectively. “Petty crime” shall not be in our vocabulary, as this “category” of crime often leads to the greatest diminishing of the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Our Fire and Ambulance Services, so important to the community, must be given the resources necessary so that our response times to these critical calls allow us to save lives.

Our Finances:

From this area all of our ability to impact the other issues we discuss flows, for without a solid financial footing we would not be able to make the necessary investments to provide the level of services desired. We need to continue to attract quality, non-intrusive commercial ventures to Methuen in order to lessen the burden on the residential homeowner. And we need to be extremely vigilant in seeking economic efficiencies to maximize the bang we get for the public dollar. Business: We need to promote the idea that local government is a friend to business, in particular small business, and work to further streamline our regulatory processes where possible to make our system more user-friendly to business.

Such regulatory relief can include the more efficient use of Information Technology to allow us to streamline our licensing requirements. Recreational Opportunities: We must continue to strive for excellence in providing the children of our community recreational opportunities. As a parent with two kids who have been a part of our recreational system, I am proud of the work done by all of our youth groups to provide these kids with the type of opportunities they deserve. Our Recreation Department has been outstanding in helping to facilitate hese opportunities. The success of these programs has strained our capacity somewhat, and we need to insure that we ontinue to offer City help and assistance to maintain and where possible expand these opportunities. A big challenge in this area is in the demand for and management of field use.

Job Opportunities:

As good economic rojects come to Methuen, it is my belief that we should as a community set a goal that where possible Methuen residents work on Methuen jobs. Our goal should be not only jobs, but good jobs that provide family benefits.

Veterans Services:

As our service obligations as a country grow due to the Iraq situation, our community must strive to help returning veterans and play a role in being of assistance to the families of active service members. This principle applies to the many veterans of past conflicts as well. Veterans and their families should not be financially penalized for the performance of their service duties! Certainly there are many other important issues facing Methuen, including historic preservation and restoration, downtown revitalization, 40B reform, and many others. As the next municipal election cycle comes around, look for great debate on all ofthese issues.

Bill Manzi is president of the Methuen City Council and is a Democrat. You can contact him at

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Prior Columns by Billy Manzi