Each week, the Abington News is asking the three candidates for the Board of Selectmen a question to help voters better understand them as candidates. Election Day is Saturday, April 29.
Candidate responses are published as submitted, in the order they were received, and were not edited.
This week’s question: Abington has done a good job in recent years avoiding layoffs, expanding services, building up its savings reserve, funding capital needs, etc. How can the Board of Selectmen ensure this continues moving forward?
The Town of Abington has been very fortunate in recent years providing for it’s stable fiscal health, however, as history has proven there will be times that stability may prove challenging should the economic climate change.
First and foremost the Town must continue to be prudent in its expenditures and attempt to live off of existing revenues. Any expenditures from certified free cash should be for one time capital expenditures and not reoccurring budgetary obligations. In the foreseeable future the Town will realize savings when its obligation to the Plymouth County Retirement Association will be fully funded. In 2029 the Town will revert back to paying its existing obligation rather than augmenting the past. This will see a savings in the neighborhood of $ 2.4 million.
Additionally, there will be a proposal before town meeting in the Fall of 2023 that will address future development at the former NAS-South Weymouth known as Union Point. The current Master Developer is putting forward a plan that, if approved, will net the Town approximately $ 5 million yearly. The Town of Weymouth currently is realizing substantial added revenue from construction on land within its boundaries at Union Point with little drain on municipal resources and Abington could expect to see the same benefit.
The Board of Selectmen should also review its policy as it relates to recommendations on the expenditures of free cash to ensure that a percentage is utilized for capital equipment. Additionally to set a percentage set aside in the Stabilization Fund which will continue to prop up the foundation of the Town’s fiscal health, thus allowing it to be viewed by the Bond Rating Houses as a stable investment with little risk when the Town seeks funding on the bond market. This would result in favorable interest terms on borrowing.
Abington has done a great job financially during the last few year. I think that is because of the partnership and openness between the Town Manager, BOS, department heads and finance committee.
Moving forward Abington should have more cannabis revenues once the other four locations open up. We have been very successful in obtaining grants. We need to continue seeking grants.
At the most recent Town Meeting we budgeted for a Town Planner. Once the town planner is hired we need to seek commercial development on RT 18 and Brockton Ave. With the new developer at Union Point our hopes are high that this time we might actually see development.
I think the future looks bright for Abington. We need to continue to do what we have been doing.