Danvers, MA: Traffic, Taxes and Affordable Housing
For Danvers residents, the single biggest issue facing the town is traffic, taxes or affordable housing, according to the results of a community-wide survey recently presented to the Board of Selectmen.
These results were some of the key findings of a survey carried out by GreatBlue Research, a research firm that aims to identify, address, and improve quality of life for a community’s residents. In total, the firm conducted 400 telephone interviews with Danvers residents and collected 311 online surveys between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31.
The survey was commissioned by the town, but there was no incentive for residents to take it.
Of the survey’s 711 respondents, 21.9 percent identified traffic as the single biggest issues facing Danvers residents, and 20.3 percent of respondents said taxes were the single biggest issue. There was a significant drop off from there, in which 4.9 respondents identified affordable housing as the single biggest issue facing Danvers residents.
And in terms of the top three priorities residents believe town officials should focus on, about 58 percent of respondents identified traffic congestion as the top priority; 32 percent said “improving local infrastructure such as sewer systems, roadways, etc.” was the top priority, while about 28 percent said preserving open space was the top priority for town officials.
The survey noted that of those results, the top two priorities were concentrated among respondents who had been in Danvers for 15 or more years.
Town Manager Steve Bartha said if this survey was conducted in any community, taxes and traffic would likely also be found in the top five priorities.
Bartha also said Danvers taxes are relatively low compared to its surrounding neighbors because of the town’s high commercial industry base.
The survey asked respondents about their awareness of Massachusetts Proposition 2 1/2, which limits the amount of money a municipality can collect on property tax each year. About 60 percent of residents reported they were aware of the proposition, and 25 percent said they were not aware special approval from a Town Meeting would be needed to increase property taxes by 2.5 percent annually.
The chance of overriding a 2 1/2 Proposition is highly unlikely, according to Selectmen William Clark.
A large majority of respondents – regardless of awareness – said there were no town projects, initiatives or services that warrant a 2.5 percent property tax increase.