NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 19, 2013

Gray stakes out mayoral plan

AMESBURY – After posting the first portion of his plan online earlier this week, mayoral candidate Ken Gray laid out the remainder of his plan yesterday afternoon, detailing how he hopes to increase revenue and improve Amesbury’s schools.

Gray, who is challenging incumbent Mayor Thatcher Kezer in the Nov. 5 election, said he would post the full plan for the public to view in a series of posts on his Facebook page over several days. The piece on controlling spending has been up since Monday, and he said the remaining three will go up in sequence soon.

Gray’s plan -- or more precisely, the lack of a published and publicly available plan -- has stirred some controversy in the race for mayor. Gray, who beat Kezer in the Sept. 17 preliminary election, has long promised that he would release a comprehensive management plan. Kezer and his supporters have frequently called on Gray put it out to the public.

Gray’s plan is broken down into four parts: controlling spending, increasing revenue, improving the schools and bringing the community together.

To increase revenue, Gray agreed with Kezer that building the commercial/industrial tax base is the way to go, but whatever strategy the city has employed in the past hasn’t worked, and over the past seven years Amesbury has seen its annual new growth drop by over 76 percent.

Specifically, he pointed to the Golden Triangle, which was long Amesbury’s top development priority but has remained undeveloped for decades. He added that in recent years, Kezer’s focus has shifted from the Golden Triangle to the Lower Millyard, yet the core strategy has remained essentially unchanged.

Gray said if elected, he would be Amesbury’s top salesman and place a higher emphasis on reaching out to prospective businesses and developers to bring them in and sell them the city of Amesbury. He said whether people realize it or not, Amesbury is competing with surrounding communities for business, and putting out a “for sale” sign and waiting for the buyers to come isn’t a winning strategy.

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