The latest news from Andover Town Offices and around the community.
Town of Andover Newsletter
April 24, 2023 | No. 007

Town Meeting Preview

Annual Town Meeting Begins on Monday, May 1 at 7:00 PM

Andover's Annual Town meeting will begin on Monday, May 1 at the J. Everett Collins Center for the Performing Arts at Andover High School, 100 Shawsheen Road. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM, and may continue on May 2 and May 3 if necessary.


Town Meeting is a distinct civic tradition that offers all registered voters an opportunity to weigh in on issues of critical importance to the Town. Voters at this year's Annual Town Meeting will be asked to make decisions on a host of important topics, including the FY2024 budget, capital expenditures, a tax increment financing agreement that would create a major economic development opportunity, the closure of the Ledge Road Landfill, and more. 

There are 41 articles on the Annual Town Meeting Warrant. This edition of the Bartlet Street Dispatch highlights a series of videos produced by the Town of Andover that explain key articles on the Warrant.


For a comprehensive look at what will be considered at Annual Town Meeting, voters are encouraged to review the full Warrant and Finance Committee report before Town Meeting begins. These resources are available online at the link below.

Article 7

Home Rule Petition for Excess Levy Capacity

Article 7 would authorize the filing of special legislation to place restrictions on the excess levy capacity created through the Town's pension obligation bond plan, limiting its uses to: funding debt service on pension obligation bonds, post employment benefits, and capital projects. 


As a component of the pension obligation bond plan, voters approved a debt exclusion to fund 50% of the costs associated with the plan outside the limitations of Proposition 2 1/2. This measure created excess levy capacity. If approved, the special legislation authorized in this article would create safeguards around use of this excess levy capacity.  

Article 12

Tax Increment Financing Agreement

Article 12 represents an opportunity to create a world-class life science hub in Andover that would stimulate job creation and support the long term growth of the Town's commercial tax base.


The article would authorize a Tax Increment Financing agreement, or TIF agreement, with Flagship Pioneering, a large biotech firm, for the 3000 Minuteman Road Campus (the former Philips Healthcare site). Flagship intends to make an investment of $325 million at the site, and create at least 600 new jobs in Andover. Under the agreement, Flagship would receive incremental property tax relief of 70% over 20 years beginning in 2025. The maximum relief that Flagship is entitled to receive under the agreement is $20,082,243 - 6% of the total investment that the company has committed to make at the site.

Articles 13 & 14

Electronic Voting at Town Meeting

Articles 13 and 14 would enable voting at future Town Meetings to take place through handheld electronic voting devices. Currently, voting at Town Meeting takes place through a show of hands or through a standing count. The use of electronic voting devices was recommended by Andover's Town Governance Study Committee, and would improve the voting process at Town Meeting by making it confidential, more accurate, and more efficient.


Article 13 amends Town Bylaws to authorize the use of electronic voting at Town Meeting, and Article 14 appropriates $40,000 for the rental of electronic voting equipment during FY 2024.

Articles 25 & 26

Ledge Road Landfill

Capping the Ledge Road Landfill has been a longstanding priority of the Town of Andover. The landfill was used for solid waste disposal until the 1970s. Capping the site is necessary to isolate contaminated materials, prevent potential environmental impacts, and to comply with a mandate from the Department of Environmental Protection requiring the closure of the landfill by 2025.


Two articles on this year's town warrant would critical authorizations needed for the Town to complete this long anticipated project. Article 25 authorizes the appropriation of $2.5 million - the remaining amount need to complete the capping project. Article 26 authorizes the friendly taking of temporary easement at three private properties that abut the landfill to enable to the transport of capping materials during construction.

Articles 30-33

Solar Power Agreements at Bancroft Elementary and West Elementary/Shawsheen Preschool

Articles 30-33 seek authorization for the School Committee to enter into agreements that would enable solar projects at Bancroft Elementary School and the new West Elementary/Shawsheen Preschool. Two articles are required to enable the projects at each site: one that allows the School Committee to enter into an agreement with a solar provider to purchase solar energy at a fixed rate for a 20 year term, and another that would authorize the lease of space at each school site to allow for the installation of solar facilities. 


Collectively, the two projects will produce a savings of $1.2 million over 20 years, and will reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 6,900 tons. 

FY 2024 Budget Proposal

A Closer Look at the FY2024 Budget Proposal 

Article 4 on the Annual Town Meeting Warrant considers adoption of the Fiscal Year 2024 operating budget. The proposed budget aims to balance the needs and expectations of the community with fiscal responsibility while maintaining service levels across all Town departments. Notably, the budget includes funding to enhance staffing levels in the Fire Rescue Department and Police Department to account for growing demands placed on public safety resources in recent decades by adding 12 total positions across the two departments. Under the recommendation, the costs of these new positions will be offset through increased ambulance billing fees, downtown parking revenue, and reduced overtime costs in both Departments.


Learn more and view the full FY2024 budget proposal at the link below.

Town Meeting Fast Facts

More Information You Should Know Before Town Meeting

Arrival/Check-In Instructions

Town Meeting beings at 7:00 PM. Residents attending Town Meeting are advised to arrive early each night to allow time for check-in. All voters must check-in at their designated precinct table in the lobby of the Collins Center.


Verify your precinct information in advance to avoid delays during the check-in process:


Voters will be given a sticker at check-in, which must be visible at all times during Town Meeting to allow for the identification of voters during vote counting. 

Parking is available in several lots near the Collins Center:
1. Collins Center Lot
2. West Middle School Lot
3. Red Spring Road Lot
4. Main Lot at the High School
5. Lot beside the Field House

Transportation is available to seniors and residents with disabilities who are unable to drive themselves to Town Meeting through Andover Elder Services. Residents who would like to request a ride to Town Meeting should contact Elder Services during regular business hours at: (978) 623-8320.

Child Care
Child care is available during Town Meeting for parents of children in Kindergarten through 8th Grade. For more information, contact Andover Recreation at: (978) 623-8340

Hearing Assistance 
Live audio from the meeting will be available through Listen Everywhere, which brings clear audio to your smartphone. Steps for connecting to Listen Everywhere, including QR codes, are available on page 2 of the Finance Committee Report.


For assistance accessing the Listen Everywhere app, visit the Andover Commission on Disability table at the Collins Center During Town Meeting.

Live Captioning

Epiphan Live Captioning will be available to bring transcription to your smartphone and other smart devices. Instructions for connection to Epiphan Live Captioning are available on page 2 of the Finance Committee Report. 

To access live captions, click here during Town Meeting. The Epiphan Live Scypt Service will open.

Town Meeting Information Session

Watch the Pre-Town Meeting Information Session On Demand

On Tuesday, April 25, the Town of Andover hosted a Pre-Town Meeting Information Session at the Public Safety Training Room. While similar information sessions have been an annual component of the Town's outreach leading up to Town Meeting, this year's forum marked the first time that the event has been held in a hybrid format - allowing residents to participate and ask question in-person or via Zoom.


The Pre-Town Meeting Information Session featured presentations on significant articles on the Annual Town Meeting Warrant from the Town Manager and other Town staff. The full forum can be viewed on demand through AndoverTV at the link below.

Finance Committee Report
The Finance Committee Report for Annual Town Meeting has been published and distributed by mail to all households in Andover. The Report includes information and resources related to the FY2024 operating budget, and provides information on all Warrant articles, including a summary of each article, their financial impact, and recommendations made by the Finance Committee, Select Board, and other relevant Town boards. 
Voters are encouraged to bring their physical copy of the Finance Committee Report to Town Meeting for reference during discussion of articles. The full report is also available online at the link below.
Select Board Brief

Select Board Reviews Financial Impact of Andover High School Project, Approves Adjusted Water Rate Plan, and Receives Update on Pension Obligation Bond

The Andover Select Board met on Monday, April 24 in the Robb Senior Center’s Lifelong Learning Room, marking the Board’s final meeting prior to Annual Town Meeting on May 1. The Board reviewed two significant topics in second readings – a tree removal and replacement policy, and an adjusted water rate plan for FY2024 through FY2029 – voting to approve both. Other topics that came before the Board on Monday night included the creation of an EMS Bike Team in the Fire Rescue Department, the financial impact of the proposed Andover High School building project, and the performance of the Town’s pension obligation bond.

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