ANDOVER — A volunteer panel to research another form of town government is on the warrant for the annual town meeting Saturday, March 19.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the Town Hall.

Changing from governance by a three-member board of selectmen has been rejected before, but Selectman Jane Rich said recently that it may be worthwhile to have another look.

Options could include a town manager or an administrative assistant.

Rich, who also served on the board in the late 1970s and 1980s, said the selectmen’s responsibilities have become significantly more time-consuming, particularly the property assessing chore.

“Fewer people want to run for office, or are familiar enough to do it,” she said.

Regarding the assessment responsibilities, Rich said that in decades past, Andover had about 600 parcels to value. Today, is has 950.

She also said with the turnover on the board, there is not as much continuity of knowledge as in the past. And there is generally more paperwork required.

She said she personally favors expanding the job of secretary to the board to an administrative assistant, in order to handle more of the non-assessing-related workload.

The warrant article asks if voters want to establish a committee to research the options.

Other requests on the warrant include:

* $10,000 for the property revaluation account. It would bring the reserve account to $63,000. The total cost is about $80,000, Rich said.

* $250 for cemetery lots to cover the cost of four cornerstones  required by cemetery policy.

* $2,500 in legal fees for town representation in Probate Court to gain access to the Cemetery Trust Account. There was $45,063 in the account at the end of 2015, according to town officials.

* Change the annual tax billing cycle to semiannual to improve cash flow.

$11,500 to buy protective equipment for firefighters.

* $36,680 for Fire Department operations.

Rich estimated that if all money articles are approved there would be a minimal increase in the budget.

Municipal elections will be held Tuesday, March 22. Leo Camire and Sharon Hutchins are running for a three-year term to succeed Selectman Keith Farmington who is retiring, Rich said.

School board member Lindsay Sharkey is running for re-election, according to Town Clerk Melinda Averill, but Linda Putnam Presby is not. Both seats are for three years, Averill said.


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