The past year ends and a new one starts. Town leaders and organizers are looking forward to what comes next for Derry and Londonderry in 2014 and have wish lists for getting things done.
Both towns face challenges in the new year, from handling massive development projects to putting new town leaders into place.
In his first new year as Londonderry town manager, Kevin Smith hopes for stability within internal town affairs and continued economic growth as his town prepares for major developments, including the approved Woodmont Commons plan and potential development around the Pettengill Road area.
“Londonderry, no doubt, is poised to lead the state in economic activity beginning in 2014,” Smith said. “So, needless to say, I am looking forward to the year ahead.”
Londonderry police Chief William Hart said he hopes 2014 will continue a town mission to be prudent with taxpayers money. He said he wants to not only lead effectively himself, but have town leaders and department heads continue strong, capable management.
“I wish for the town the capacity on the part of our civic/political leaders for vision and the courage to implement it,” Hart said.
Derry faces different challenges than its neighbor. The town will begin searching for a new administrator, and leaders will continue to ponder ways to make Derry grow while keeping its character and integrity intact.
Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau said he hopes 2014 brings successful collaboration among leaders to address affordable quality of life, while working on conservative ways to address school and municipal spending and find ways to expand the tax base.
Budreau also looks forward to finding the right administrator and continuing successful labor relationships among unions.
“Within the municipal government operation, I wish for a competent, qualified leader to take the helm, harmonious labor negotiations to continue, and I wish all the town’s employees and residents a happy, safe and prosperous new year,” he said.
Derry Town Councilor Tom Cardon has lower taxes on his new year wish list.
“The Town Council level funded its budget last year and my hopes are to do the same thing this year,” he said.
Cardon also said he hopes 2014 might be the year for stimulating growth in the downtown by urging landowners to clean up their properties.
“I think this is the single most important thing we can do to help the downtown,” Cardon said.
He also wants to find that perfect town administrator.
“Someone dynamic, forward thinking who will be willing to stay for more than three years,” he said.
Those working for nonprofit groups and other service organizations also have hopes for the new year.
Community Alliance for Teen Safety’s executive director Sue Centner wants to keep families and especially youth safe and sound in 2014.
That has been an annual goal since the organization began in 1996.
“I hope that the youth in our community are encouraged and supported to make safe choices, that we don’t have the tragedies that affect us all when a young person full of promise is seriously injured or dies as a result of a car crash, drug misuse, violence or suicide,” she said.
Cindee Tanuma leads Community Caregivers of Greater Derry and hopes the new year will give people the opportunity to get to know an elderly neighbor who might be in need.
“Ask if they need help bringing in the mail, taking out the trash, raking leaves or mowing their lawn,” Tanuma said. “Love thy neighbor, that is my new year’s wish.”