NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

January 17, 2013

Some resolutions for the Amesbury council

To the editor:

Suggested New Year’s resolution for the Amesbury City Council:

1. That they televise all budget meetings. This resident spent 20 years working on cable issues. Upon leaving the cable committee he was aware of three channels available for local public broadcasting on the issues. Originally It was at least the intent of this public commenter that the planning boards might be televised as well as other boards and commissions as the case may be;

2. That they, the council, plan a workshop on “the creation of value.” Inviting the planning board, the board of assessors, the chief assessor, local appraisers, area bankers, loan officers, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, the building inspector commissioner, and the public. I believe this is critical in understanding the current plight of Amesbury and the loss of $67 million value leading to the 2013 $20.24 tax rate and increased burden;

3. That the City Council amend its rules for the 2013 session to appoint 10 citizen members to the finance committee to enlarge the number of locals who understand these concepts and deliberations, and what might occur as a result with disagreement of an issue;

4. That the council, under ordinance, resume the zero-based budget approach to one third of the annual budget submissions in May, using budget both line-item and program, plus incorporate a performance component with targets for the upcoming season;

5. That the council conduct a workshop on the ‘origins of free cash” and its linkage to the stabilization account;

6. That the council disclose the “end of the year financial position of the community to better inform the public as to the condition of the city’s finances, especially revenues; and in addition, know the direction of the real estate sample, positive or negative, as of the close of the calendar year Dec. 31 to better gauge actions that need to be taken during the budget votes to appropriate and fund for the next fiscal year.

James N. Thivierge

Amesbury

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