NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 31, 2012

Tax rate generates controversy in Amesbury

AMESBURY — The year 2012 was an interesting one for Amesbury. Looking back years from now, we’ll be able to say this was the year thousands of runners invaded Point Shore and painted the streets every color of the rainbow. This was the year Universal Studios came to town and brought the DeLorean Timecar with them.

We can even say that 2012 was the year that the infamous Route 110 bottleneck finally met its end. One can only hope that also means the end of beach traffic, too, though that might be asking a lot.

Regardless, it was an eventful year, and before we move ahead, here is a brief look back at five of the biggest stories in Amesbury from this past year.

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Without a doubt, the hottest issue in Amesbury in 2012 was taxes. Whether it was during the budget meetings, the tax classification hearing or the acrimonious Department of Public Works facility debate, the issue continuously manifested itself and was always at the forefront of the political discussion.

That doesn’t figure to change going into 2013 either. This year’s new tax rate of $20.24 caused members of the City Council to express frustration with Amesbury’s tax situation and promise meaningful spending cuts in the upcoming budget session to try to alleviate the pressure on taxpayers.

Being an election year, the anti-tax proponents in Amesbury figure to remain a loud presence in the local political scene in 2013 as well.

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When word got out in early August that the Hines Bridge would be reopening, it was as though everyone in Amesbury simultaneously threw up their hands and shouted “Finally!” in unison.

The vital link between Amesbury and Newburyport was closed for more than two years after a barge hauling electrical parts for National Grid struck it in 2010, knocking its northern pier 8 inches and forcing the state to completely rebuild the bridge at a cost of $34 million.

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