Not that any Newburyporter needs my advice nor would any intelligent voter necessarily be swayed by what I am about to say but…
Here are the reasons why I am voting for Donna Holaday today.
I have served with all three candidates while they were on the City Council. Each has many positive attributes and I have a great deal of respect for each of them.
Donna's work ethic is incredible. She lives and breathes this job and does everything she can for the city she loves. She put in an incredible amount of effort while she was on the City Council. I was very pleased to be on the budget and finance committee while she was chair. I learned a lot from her, mostly about how important hard work is to being an effective Councilor.
The number of projects that have been initiated and implemented during Donna's four years as mayor is Impressive. The waste water treatment facility commonly known as the sewer plant, the water treatment facility commonly known as the source of our drinking water, an increased number of sidewalks that have been repaired (yes I know it is not nearly enough and believe me she is aware of that as well), improvements to downtown, the jetties project on Plum Island, the roundabout, the two schools project, the senior center, and several others that have not achieved as much public notice are necessary and show a city on the rise.
Donna has done a very good job of managing and motivating city employees. You will hear on occasion that she is a stern taskmaster; believe it, she is a nice person but she demands excellence from the city staff.
The finances of the city are in strong shape. The council deserves some credit here for controlling spending during the recent lean years and previous mayors also deserve credit. But Donna has aligned our spending with the real needs of public safety, education, and the other services that the city provides. Each year the Council is provided a budget proposal by the mayor. This documents is an accurate reflection of the good work that is done by city employees and Donna has included a capital budget for the first time and that is going to prove to be a very useful document with the many infrastructure needs that the city has.
While the waterfront has been and will continue to be a topic of pointed discussion and disagreement, Donna's approach to this issue has been pragmatic and has helped move this issue forward. The City Council did approve a city expenditure to pay for some of the planning consultation that is assisting the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority. That involvement has helped too. Whatever the ultimate solution to the waterfront, the city and the redevelopment authority will need to play a role. To those who want to disband the NRA I would caution you that if the deliberative body for this issue becomes the 11 members of the Newburyport City Council, that will become an issue that will take even longer to decide. I too favor an approach that includes a limited amount of commercial development. It's the best way to reduce the burden on property tax payers and bring people to the river during all seasons, not just the peak summer time. I want more park on the waterfront and this is the most realistic way to make it happen.
In terms of advocacy for Newburyport, Donna has been a strong voice for us. Her relentless efforts to get funds for the schools project, the roundabout, the jetties at Plum Island, mitigation for the Route 95 bridge project, more state attention to the Crow Lane landfill have made a big difference. She has worked well with our federal and state delegation who are crucial to making these projects happen.
In summary, Donna has the skills experience and energy to continue to be an excellent mayor. I hope you will join me in voting for her today.