Merrimack Valley TMA Newsletter
December 2017/January 2018
Andover Talks Infrastructure at MVTMA Fall Municipal Roundtable 11/8
On November 8th, Town of Andover officials provided insight for TMA members into infrastructure projects and tax rates at the annual MVTMA Andover Municipal Roundtable.  Town Manager Andrew Flanagan told the group that
water and sewer rates rose approximately 2 ½ percent this fiscal year.  He noted that the Towns of Andover and North Reading entered into a municipal services agreement for Andover to continue to supply water to North Reading.  
This is a significant boon for town rate payers as approximately ⅓ of the revenue for the water department comes from this contract. 

Approved by the Andover Board of Selectmen in early December, the Town of Andover FY18 commercial tax rate was set at $27.61 per $1000 while the FY18 residential property rate was set at $15.64 per $1000.  The rate recommendation has been sent to Mass DOR for approval. The Town Manager also noted that construction of the new Municipal Services Facility at Campanelli Drive has begun with a projected completion date for the facility of October 2018.  
Andover Planning Director Paul Materazzo told the group that the Town of Andover contracted with Gamble & Associates to develop design guidelines for the Historic Mill District in downtown in the area of the current Town Yard and Andover commuter rail station.  The guidelines divide the area into 3 corridors - a road district, a rail district, and a river district - final draft of the design guidelines   are done.  The next step will be to move forward toward approval by the Planning Board and once the guidelines are approved, the town can begin to promote the area to developers.  Mr. Materazzo also provided the group with updates related to  several other projects in Andover that are in various stages of permitting and development.

New!  Video Shows Thriving Business Climate in Lawrence
Lawrence Office of Business Development Director Abel Vargas and his staff have developed a new video  to promote the wealth of resources available in Lawrence for companies and individuals looking to start or grow their business.  The video features several of Lawrence's most prominent business leaders discussing the advantages of locating in Lawrence. Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera notes, "If you need a hard working workforce you can get that in Lawrence, if you need diversity in skills level of your workforce, you can access that from Lawrence, and if you need quality and affordable space, you can get that in Lawrence." 

For more information about locating or expanding your business in Lawrence contact Abel Vargas,  (978) 620-3015 .  
Winter Commute Tips for Biking & Driving
Don't let winter weather keep you from getting where you need to go - whether on two wheels or four! Biking to work through the winter needn't be reserved for the heartiest among us. Here are a few quick tips to keep you rolling all winter long:

1. Invest in thick mittens, socks & boots
2.  Dress in layers, focusing on hands, head, and toes
3. Install fenders to avoid the splash
4. Wear a thin, wind proof hat under your helmet
5. Wear reflective clothing and bright lights  
And when you're driving in winter weather, take this advice from AAA: 
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. 
  • Drive slowly. 
  • Know your brakes. 
  • Don't stop if you can avoid it. 
  • Don't power up hills. 
  • Don't stop going up a hill. 
Dascomb Road Project Moves Forward
The Andover Board of Selectmen have selected a task force to guide the town on the advisability of supporting a request by the Dascomb Road Project developer that seeks to replace a portion of the project's planned commercial office space with 225 units of senior housing via a Senior Housing Planned Unit Development. The current ID2 zoning overlay allows for mixed development including commercial and retail uses. Traffic studies have been conducted for development of the site under the ID2 zoning overlay as well as under the senior housing scenario described above and will undergo peer review.  Approval of the Planned Unit Development will require a  ⅔ vote at a special Town Meeting which will take place on January 29th, 7:00 PM at Andover High School Collins Auditorium.

For additional information visit the Town of Andover's Dascomb Road Project
Congrats to Our Holiday Promo Winners!
Pat Bowen from Philips was the lucky winner of the Merrimack Valley TMA's 2017 Holiday Promotion! Pat was rewarded for signing up for our new Guaranteed Ride Home program with Uber. All TMA member employees who commute  via carpool, public transit, bike or other alternative to driving alone at least 2 days per week are eligible to participate in the Guaranteed Ride Home program!

Don't forget - finding a commute buddy, transit connection, shared ride or active commute option and logging your trips has never been easier! Visit our website or  Download the mobile app
Coming Soon: Automated, Cashless Fare Technology 
The MBTA recently announced that its new fare payment system - known as AFC 2.0, will make paying for transit easier and more convenient. With AFC 2.0, you'll be able to tap and board at any door with a fare card, smartphone, or contactless credit card. Reload using cash or credit card at vending machines at all stations and some bus stops, or go online to manage your account 24 hours a day. While Charlie Cards will no longer be accepted, the T expects to keep the Charlie theme when it introduces the new system in the next few years. More
Get Yours Today! Guaranteed Ride Home With Uber 
Have to leave work unexpectedly early to care for a sick child or family member? Unscheduled overtime got you staying late and missing your carpool, bus, or train home? We've got you covered with our new Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program through UBER that debuted on November 1st.  The Merrimack Valley TMA GRH program provides a free ride home in the event of an emergency or unplanned overtime to member employees/tenants commuting to work at least 2 days per week using an alternative to driving alone.  
Registration is easy.  After filling out the registration form on the TMA website, you will receive an email from UBER with a link to join the TMA's GRH program.  Once you click on the link to accept the invitation, you can start to use the program immediately!  Those who are not currently enrolled in the program but would like to join can learn more and register at our website.