2020 proved to be a year of challenges, steep learning curves, new habits, practices, procedures, policies, and technologies. 2021 is following suit as we continue to strive to improve our operations and communications.
This past year the Select Board, Road Agent, and Town administration had four primary goals:
COVID-19 Safety: Developing practices and procedures to keep all Town employees and residents safe, including changes to Town Office business and Town meetings was crucial. Town Hall remains open to the public by appointment only, and many meetings are conducted using Zoom. We remain committed to staying current and compliant with state protocols, recommendations, and mandates.
Andover Highway Department: The 2019 Town Meeting requested the Select Board seriously study the feasibility and logistics of creating a highway department.
To honor this request, a committee of volunteers was formed to develop a comprehensive proposal. This proposal was presented to the Select Board in September and can be viewed in its entirety at Andover-NH.gov, at Town Hall, or by contacting the Select Board.
The second phase of this process was for the Select Board and Road Agent to take action via budgeting and 2020 warrant articles. The Select Board is recommending a short-term, phased approach which allows for immediate action and savings. The Select Board’s proposal to the town and Budget Committee is available in hard copy at the Transfer Station, in PDF at Andover-NH.gov, and the public hearing can be viewed via the link at Andover-NH.gov and the Town’s Facebook page.
Controlling and Maintaining the Budget: Significant time and effort has gone into working with department heads to follow and analyze expenditures to determine how to maximize our tax dollars. The proposed 2021 operating budget is down 2.79%. This includes significant savings in plow and sand – by contracting out four plow routes and employing our own Town employees and Town equipment for specific plow routes, we were able to save and budget this line.
Other savings come in the form of the highway rental line – by owning more of our equipment, we save substantially on rental and labor costs. Despite increases in lines such as building maintenance and insurance, the proposed budget is seeing savings from IT, Forest Fire, and Personnel and Administration.
The full public hearing, including the detailed budget and proposed warrant articles, can be viewed via the link at Andover-NH.gov and the Town’s Facebook page.
Transparency and Communication: Communication and participation in Town business is of the utmost importance. In an effort to engage all Andover residents, we encourage you to access information and provide constructive feedback in the following ways:
Phone: 603 735-5332
Town website: Andover-NH.gov
Select Board email address: AndoverNH2021@nullgmail.com
Town Facebook Page: Town of Andover, NH
Our Town Meeting will take place in an online virtual forum on Tuesdays, March 9 and 16. We will then have both in-person and drive through voting occur on Tuesday, April 13. Complete details are on page ??.