Meet John Round


I am asking for your support for a second term on Manchester’s Select Board.  My wife Marianne and I have been Manchester residents for 24 years and have raised three children, all of whom graduated from MERHS.

The past three years on the Board have been eventful, with Covid, a 40B application, and the regionalization of our dispatch operations being major challenges.  I have helped the Town navigate through all of them. 

You learn a lot about your Town when you serve on a Board/Committee.  As a current member of the Historic District Commission as well as a member of the Select Board, I have listened and become familiar with the views and opinions that residents hold on a myriad of issues.  I have gained a greater appreciation for the many Town staff that work hard to make our Town go, and for the scores of citizens who have volunteered their time to help make Manchester a better place.  And I also learned that there is much more to do.   

All of us love living in Manchester by the Sea.  Its character, culture, ambiance, and lifestyle are unmatched.  We want to keep Manchester just the way it is.  That, in fact, was a primary finding of our Town’s Master Plan four years ago.  But Manchester is changing.  The number of Manchester students in the MERSD has dropped by 17 percent in the last five years, not a good trend for a strong school system that is a cornerstone of Manchester.  Our population has not grown in 40 years and half of us will be over 60 within the next five years.  We are getting older, and it is becoming more expensive to live here.

So, what can we do?  I support efforts to diversify housing choices.  It will enable seniors to downsize and still stay in town and bring in new families with children.  The rezoning recently proposed by the Planning Board, the MAHT/MHA initiatives to expand, the State’s 40A Sec 3 zoning law (which we are currently reviewing), and the right kind of 40B proposal could all play a role.

Our water and sewer systems capacities will adequately serve our needs for the foreseeable future, but their piping infrastructure is old and leaky.  We are replacing these pipes on a regular basis, but I will advocate to accelerate that process which will help conserve our water supply and improve efficiency.  I serve on the Water Resources Protection Task Force which will recommend this and several other measures to ensure the supply of quality drinking water for years to come. 

Our town is well run.  Operational budgets have controlled growth, year to year.  But we will be making important decisions about capital projects for our town and our schools in the next few years.  Besides the usual $3-4 million in annual capital investments, we will need tens of millions of dollars for an Essex Elementary School, treating our water for PFAS’s, a Senior Center, a library wing, a DPW garage, harbor dredging, and storm/flood mitigation for our sewer system/Town Hall and the Tuck’s Point Rotunda.  All these projects have merit.  We will have some control about prioritizing many of them and grants will help with the costs; I will listen closely to what you think.

However, we proceed, there will be more upward pressure on our property tax rate.  I support further development of the LCD as an important additional source of property tax revenue.  Cell Signaling’s decision to build there will make the LCD more attractive for other businesses to consider locating there.    

Finally, strong community engagement is important.  The Town has made good progress in this regard with its website and social and print media.  I want to know what is foremost in your mind.  I believe that is best done by meeting you where you are, at community events and at organizational meetings.  I have attended, and will continue to attend, many of these.  The Select Board is embarking on a formal Listening Tour which will include such events and supplement them with forums and roundtables.

There is much to be done.  Together we can create a prosperous future for our Town.  I ask for your vote on May 16.

select board, manchester’s select board, planning board