Meet Ann Harrison


I am Ann Harrison - MHS class of ’66, running for reelection to the Select Board.  After high school, I spent a year at the University of Grenoble, graduated from Smith College, worked for DEC, became a software engineer, got married, started the first of five companies with my husband, then moved back to Manchester in 1989.

Since then, I’ve served the town for nine years on the School Committee, 10 years on the Finance Committee (as chair for three years), and three years as a member of the Select Board.  My experiences on town committees during the 2008 recession and the pandemic induced economic shutdown in 2020 give me a long-term focus on town finances.

My first goal on the Select Board was to make the Board more open and transparent.  Changes I initiated:

  • Opening the agenda to the whole Board so any member who heard a concern from a resident could bring it to the attention of all members.
  • Publishing the “packet” that Board members receive so that everyone watching could follow the meeting.
  • Discovering, digitizing, and beginning to update the policies of the Select Board.
  • Engaging with the Manchester groups on Facebook. 

In my next term, I will continue that work, and continue to face all the challenges facing the town, which range from the ladder truck’s emissions to keeping the ocean from drowning downtown.

Two major problems require special attention in the near term:

  • Providing the services citizens want without bankrupting homeowners.
  • Creating affordable housing for young families and seniors without destroying the character of the town.

Manchester provides exceptional services.  In Public Safety, we have 16 professional firefighters/paramedics and three sworn police patrol officers 24/7.  Our schools are among the best in the state.  The roads, parks, and beaches are well-maintained.  These and other less visible services like pipes and water treatment are expensive. 

Today almost all the money comes from homeowners.  I see two ways to relieve the homeowners’ burden of taxes.  The first is to regionalize services and equipment wherever practical and safe.  The second is to attract ecologically sensitive businesses to the area north of Rt. 128 and east of School Street.    

Housing is a serious problem.  We have half of the affordable housing that the state requires and no short-term plans to build more.  We are at risk of another unfriendly 40B proposal.  The state recently introduced a requirement for zoning that allows dense multi-family housing by right within a half a mile of the railroad stop. 

Manchester’s character changes, slowly but constantly.  We cannot stop change, but we can manage it.  Developments like Saw Mill Circle and Peele House Square enhance the appeal of the town.  A hundred years ago, most of the year-round population lived within a half mile of the railroad station, many in multi-story, multi-family buildings.  Under our current zoning, those buildings could not be rebuilt if they were destroyed.  Maybe changing our zoning to allow buildings like the ones we had in years past would fit with the town character and provide housing for young families and seniors.

In my next term, I will continue to study the challenges facing the town, endeavor to understand all sides, and be prepared to discuss and explain complicated issues as I have done for the past three years.

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