The select board began finalizing town meeting’s decision to opt-in to a state law allowing the town to reduce the speed limit to 25 MPH from 30 MPH on most roads in town.
The select board could hold a public hearing and make a decision on how speed limits will be changed in Andover as early as the next meeting on Sept. 26. On Monday, Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe outlined the pros and cons of adopting the lower speed limit or applying it on a street-by-street basis.
In the town-wide option, the town wide speed limit would be 25 MPH unless otherwise posted, and signs reflecting the limit would be posted on roads at Andover’s borders. Under the street-by-street option, residents could request the lower speed limit and the police department would conduct a study and make a recommendation to approve or deny the request to the select board, which would have final approval.
Keefe said the Massachusetts Department of Transportation recommends adopting the town-wide option.
So far, 62 Massachusetts towns have opted into the law, including 54 that adopted the town-wide version. The eight that have done it on a street by street basis include Danvers and Billerica. Keefe said the advantages of street-by-street is the speed limit is more effective because the signs remind drivers to slow down.
Simko returns, gets raise
Andover’s new town clerk is also its former town clerk.
The select board approved Town Manager Andrew Flanagan’s recommendation to rehire Austin Simko as assistant town manager and town clerk. Simko began his new job Wednesday, with an annual salary of $158,000.
Simko, who was named Andover town clerk and chief strategy officer in July 2018 with a starting annual salary of $120,000. Simko left last September to accept a position as chief operating officer at Andover-based Doherty Insurance, which is owned by Andover Moderator Sheila M. Doherty.
Assistant town manager Patrick Lawlor has been serving as acting town clerk since Melissa Ripley resigned in August after less than a year in the position. The board also approved Flanagan’s recommendation to name Lawlor chief financial officer effective Oct. 1 at a salary of $158,000 per year. Lawlor, who is the town’s first CFO, was originally hired in 2019 at an annual salary of $76,000.
Pandemic increased demand for senior services in Andover
Monday’s meeting was held at the Robb Senior Center as part of the select board’s program of holding meetings at different locations around town. Elder Service director Jane Burns gave an overview of the center and her department’s work to start the meeting, and said the coronavirus pandemic increased need among Andover’s senior citizens.
“It’s not all fun and games here,” Burns said after outlining some of the 50 programs offered at the Robb Center each week. “Our social workers have been very busy…we’re also seeing increased food insecurity.”
In addition to increased home visits, the center has partnered with the Merrimack Valley YMCA’s mobile food market and has been giving residents coupons for the Andover Farmers Market.
More Coverage Of Monday’s Select Board Meeting
- Residents Pressure Andover Select Board To Discipline Town Manager For Role In Labor Dispute
- Town Counsel Defends Guidance State Labeled ‘Erroneous Advice’
- Committee Proposes Changes For Andover Town Meeting