The people here are what makes Amesbury so special, which is why my administration has focused on building an Amesbury that works for all. We are consciously working to improve mobility and expand access to meet the unique needs of our residents and tackling issues that impact our wallets every day.
What have we accomplished?
Implemented a monitoring program for our affordable housing units to ensure we maintain the units we have and appointed members to the Housing Trust, for the first time ever, to support housing initiatives. We’ve started seeing developers include affordable housing units in new projects adding to our housing options.
Developed a rental assistance program through the Housing Trust and acquired ongoing CDBG funding for housing rehab loans to help homeowners stay in their homes.
Increased transportation options for anything from a trip to the doctors, to the store, or to a friend’s house by adding a van to our Council on Aging and partnering with MeVa to offer routes that better serve our population and reach destinations in our community.
Expanded the senior and veteran tax work off program, senior tax exemptions, and retiree cost of living increases under one time appropriation allowed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Achieved our goal of receiving the AARP age friendly community designation, which recognizes communities that value and implement the adoption of policies and programs that make neighborhoods walkable, feature transportation options, enable access to key services, provide opportunities to participate in community activities, and support housing that’s affordable and adaptable.
Implemented ASSET (Amesbury School Support and Empowerment Team) and PACT (Partnership for Amesbury Community and Teens) to expand food access, mental-health support, access to technology and social services for families and young people.
Moved many processes online and provided virtual access to many public meetings for anyone who is unable to visit city hall, either because of transportation, work schedules, childcare, or accessibility, as well as transitioned annual reports and budgets to ADA complaint virtual formats.
Expanding cable options after awarding a cable license to Breezeline who is currently building out infrastructure to provide consumers with more choices to control pricing.
Built an Equity and Inclusion Design Team, with a diverse group of members from across our community who are committed to creating a workplace and community that is equitable and inclusive for all.
With the guidance of the Equity and Inclusion Design Team our staff centered equity and inclusion in their daily work, we hired a consultant to work with us as a team to build cultural competency and emotional intelligence, understand bias and how it impacts our service to the community and hiring practices.
We are already working on an update to the Housing Production Plan to respond to the quickly changing housing market in our region. The housing crisis is rooted in our lack of production. We are advocating for and navigating the best ways to add housing to our community that will complement our neighborhoods, provide diverse housing options, and support our economic development goals. We need more housing of all kinds in all neighborhoods.
We focused on municipal aggregation to tackle rate increases last season, and are now working with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and the new administration, to ensure next winter taxpayers have some relief on their electricity bills. The administration is expecting some movement from DPU soon. We are hoping to be in that tranche of approvals.
We will be using a portion of the funding we received from the American Rescue Plan Act to replace the mulch chips at our town park playground with a poured in place surface. Allowing anyone who uses a cane, a walker, or wheels access to the play equipment, their family, and their peers.
Our Charter requires a committee to review all other appointed boards and commissions every ten years ending in a three. This committee is doing its work now to review the boards and commissions we have and their effectiveness and alignment with current goals. At its completion there will be recommendations and the opportunity to create a human rights commission or something similar to align with the challenges and opportunities we face today.