Ladies and Gentleman,
I am going to address three topics today:
- My brief thoughts on the past election, and
- The two elephants in the room that need to become our focus:
- A plan to finance several big ticket projects and
- Economic development.
The voters spoke decisively on November 8th!
It took four years of hard work with help from many committed supporters to fight my way back to this position.
To my family and friends: thank you for your support throughout the years!
Now, let’s get down to business.
”By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Our biggest challenge by far is to develop a plan to finance each of the following big ticket projects, many of which have been an albatross for more than a decade:
- First and foremost, provide students from Bradford with a safe and appropriate middle school facility
- Fulfill the following major federal mandates:
- Cap the old landfill
- Mitigate combined sewer overflow and storm-water runoff to protect the Merrimack River
- Fortify the downtown floodwall
- Finally, we need to offset the increasing cost and debt resulting from the sale of the City Hospital;
The recent exposure of the longstanding structural problems with the Hunking School facility was a wakeup call to our present dilemma:
- The City is boxed in by our increasing costs and debt and a poor economy that has lowered home values, depleted 401ks and reduced personal incomes or worse for many taxpayers.
- Simply put – the City’s financial needs are increasing while taxpayers’ ability to pay is decreasing.
I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to tackle the City’s toughest problems.
- The City Council will work with the auditor and Mayor to generate creditable financial projections that address:
While financial projections are not exact, the trends that they reveal are essential to planning. And they must be kept current.
This will enable the City Council to understand the impact, shortfalls and tradeoffs for every financial decision that it makes. And make no mistake about it – there will be trade-offs and sacrifices by all!
- The big ticket projects
- Operations and preventative maintenance to run the City, and
- Consideration of alternative approaches
Now let’s address a key solution that we need to focus on:
Every challenge creates an exciting opportunity.
That is how I view the opportunity for Haverhill to apply our collective creative and innovative minds to help attract and retain businesses.
This will expand the commercial tax base to help finance the big ticket items, and provide needed jobs at all skill levels.
Let’s ride the wave from the many successes in Haverhill such as the development of the Ward Hill industrial park several decades ago and the more recent cluster of food manufacturing companies that have moved to and expanded in Haverhill.
To that end, the City Council will work with the Mayor, the City’s economic development director, the business community, and local colleges to:
Today, the cost for marketing a City for economic development is minimal by doing the following:
- First learn about and help shape the City’s current comprehensive strategy and marketing plan to attract and retain businesses – covering the entire City, including our industrial parks and all of downtown;
- Secondly, take the necessary legislative actions to implement the strategy.
I am excited about the initial efforts by Lisa Fitzpatrick of Kifor Development at the Burgess Business Center on Essex Street to help establish Haverhill as a place where entrepreneurs can thrive.
Entrepreneurs and innovative businesses are seeking:
- Advertising using free internet services and social networks
- Working closely with Haverhill businesses with skin in the game
- Partnering with entrepreneurial organizations, such as MassChallenge and the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, that are already plugged into relevant industry, academic and financial networks
- Seek grants
- Low cost and shared facilities and business services, partnering opportunities and pathways to funding that they need to develop creative and innovative products and services for business and society.
- Excellent schools for their employees' children and to build the workforce of tomorrow!
- To that end, Haverhill’s Brightside is making plans with Haverhill schools to involve students to help brand Haverhill as a destination for entrepreneurs!
In closing, together, we need to go all out to take Haverhill to the next level. We need to go far beyond our comfort zone. And we will.
Thank you all for taking the time to attend this important event!