The Andover Select Board will join the finance, school, and Andover High School building committees for a joint meeting on Sept. 27 as a precursor for a special town meeting to approve $1.3 million for a design of a proposed, new high school.

The select board has yet to set a date for the special town meeting, but could do so at its next meeting on Sept. 18. When the select board, as expected, accepts the building committee’s request for a special town meeting, it would need to be held within 35 days.

The special town meeting would be the first major test for the project and its preliminary cost estimate of $480.9 million. The building committee is moving forward with the proposal without state funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The borrowing could result in a 20 percent increase of Andover property taxes and threatens the Town’s AAA bond rating.

Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said he expects to have a detailed analysis by Standard & Poor’s of the potential impact on the Town’s bond rating when it borrows for the new school, which has a preliminary estimate of $480.9 million. All four boards would make recommendations on the warrant article and the finance committee would prepare a report.

The report would have to be printed and mailed to voters, prompting some finance committee members to question the quick turnaround, given they have yet to review detailed information on the $1.3 million schematic design article.


Submitting Articles For Special Town Meeting

A special town meeting would also allow residents to submit private warrant articles for consideration. Here are the steps you need to take if you want to submit a warrant article:

  1. Check dates for when the warrant will be open after the select board sets a date for special town meeting.
  2. Get a private warrant article form online or from the Town Clerk’s office.
  3. You’ll need to gather signatures from 100 registered Andover voters — 10 times the number needed to add an article to the warrant for Annual Town Meeting in May.
  4. See the Town’s Website for more information.

“We need the information. The Town’s waiting, the voters are waiting,” Finance Committee Chair Paula Colby-Clements said at the committee’s last meeting. “Everybody wants us to start having the conversation, so we might as well figure it out.”

Select Board Chair Melissa Danisch attended the meeting.

“I’m listening and, and understanding to what the process is and what some of those challenges are,” she said. “So, message received.”

The finance committee would have to write a report analyzing the warrant articles. The report would have to be printed and mailed to voters, prompting some finance committee members to question the quick turnaround, given they have yet to review detailed information on the $1.3 million schematic design article.

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