To the editor:

Over 13 miles of Newburyport’s 20-mile municipal border are tidal riverfront and ocean coastline.

This means nearly two-thirds of Newburyport’s border is under direct threat from sea level rise, more powerful storms and increased rainfall. From homes and businesses on Plum Island all the way up to the Artichoke Reservoir, flooding and storm damage are becoming the norm.

The coast isn’t the only vulnerable part of our city. The business park is also in danger from larger rainfall events.

FEMA models of Category 3 or 4 hurricanes show the business park mostly under water from storm surge coming up the Parker and Little rivers. In recent storms, businesses off Parker Street have been flooded and Malcolm Hoyt Drive has been impassable for hours.

Making Newburyport climate resilient will not be cheap or easy. This is why we need someone in the mayor’s office who has been part of the city’s resiliency planning, someone who understands Newburyport’s budget on a granular level and can lead us in prioritizing and financing the most important projects.

Charlie Tontar has that experience and training. He has been part of the analysis; he understands and strongly supports the remedies called out in the resiliency plan. Additionally, Charlie’s training as an economist provides specialized insight into the economic impacts of climate change. As an experienced educator, he can clearly explain to the taxpayers the costs and benefits of each project.

Charlie is the only candidate with the deep knowledge of our situation and the experience to put Newburyport on the path to resiliency.

I will vote for Charlie Tontar because we do not have time for our next mayor to begin learning about Newburyport’s particular climate threats and remedies. Sea level rise, storms and flooding are here now.

We need a mayor who can immediately put us to work addressing them.

Jean Costello

Newburyport

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