, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 16, 2013

Ward 4 candidates sound off on NRA, schools


“One of the most important lessons I learned is that it is essential that elected officials be accessible to their fellow citizens and listen to their concerns. It is a special interest of mine to assure that, if I am elected, residents of Ward 4 have every opportunity to tell me how they think city government can improve the quality of their lives.”

Position on the central waterfront: “My position on the waterfront is a moderate one framed by three principles. First, parking for automobiles does not belong on the riverbank and should be minimized. Automobiles pollute the watershed with heavy metals and toxic fluids.”

Tontar, who gained hands-on municipal experience when he worked on an urban development project in Lawrence, added, “Improvements to the central waterfront should not increase property taxes unless voters approve of a bond override for that specific purpose.

“Third, it is essential, as a community, that we show a willingness to respect divergent positions. Staking out extreme positions will likely result in a continuation of the status quo and be indicative of a community too fractured to envision a better future.”

Position on the schools: “A significant contributor to K-12 educational success is the capacity of an educational system to engage families in educational partnerships. We should make every effort to further family-school partnerships.”

Special interest: “I am particularly interested in the city’s potential for non-residential economic growth. This includes the potential for growth in the downtown business area, the business park and the Low Street/Storey Avenue and Route 1 traffic circle areas. An expanded commercial tax base could serve to lessen the tax burden on residents and create a revenue stream that could be used to enhance the city’s sidewalk, street and park infrastructure as well as our school system.”

“One of the important elements of that character is that historic Newburyport is particularly amenable to walking and biking given its creation in a pre-automobile era,” he said. “Growth should serve to preserve and enhance that characteristic.”

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