Auburn Town Manager Ed Kazanovicz Doesn’t Miss a Beat
Ed Kazanovicz took over as Auburn Town Manager after Julie Jacobson retired from the position in January.
By Janet Stoica
The town of Auburn keeps humming along in a very positive direction under the watchful eyes of Ed Kazanovicz who took over Town Manager responsibilities earlier this year. He worked as Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Town Manager prior to his current appointment and has been working for Auburn town government since 1995. He and Julie Jacobson, former Town Manager, worked on many projects for the town’s betterment from economic development to human resources to collective bargaining. His responsibilities included all aspects of financial management including the town’s annual operating budget and five-year budget forecasts. With a background in accounting, Mr. Kazanovicz is very well prepared in steering the town in the right financial direction.
“I’ve been in municipal government for 39 years,” said Town Manager Kazanovicz, “I began my career in Lowell as an Assistant City Auditor and worked for the city for 12 years before becoming the Auburn Town Accountant. Julie Jacobson and I were very proud of our accomplishments and this town has never been in better financial shape. We put together great financial policies including a Stabilization Fund of $4.5 million and OPEB trust funding of $7 million.” OPEB, or Other Post Employment Benefits, refers to benefits other than pensions provided to retired town employees such as medical benefits. A single tax rate for businesses and residents is also being addressed and the town is working hard to reach that single rate. The single rate should serve to create new jobs and help retain jobs in the area.
“An excess levy of $9.3 million over the past 12 years has saved our taxpayers $67 million and we are very proud of this,” said Mr. Kazanovicz, “An excess levy is the amount we are allowed to tax but we haven’t taxed to that maximum allowed and have not done so for 12 years. We also use our health trust of $12.3 million to minimize health insurance premiums which serves to dilute our premium payments. It’s good for our employees and it’s good for our town. Additionally, our free cash is used for reductions in our capital expenditures.”
Economic development in Auburn currently includes two Chapter 40B Projects for housing which enables the Planning and Zoning Boards to approve affordable housing developments if at least 20-25% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions. The Perry Street Project is a 155-unit development and the Albert Street Project will have 325 rental units. According to Mr. Kazanovicz both projects are considered “friendly” 40B projects which will allow Auburn to receive funding to offset impacts to traffic, the school system, and safety concerns. “We also have a large trucking, warehouse, and storage facility in progress off Route 20-westbound that is taking shape. It encompasses approximately 40 acres. Patrick Motors has completed its expansion on Route 20-eastbound and we are also quite proud of our Pappas Recreation Complex. The fields are beautiful and are often rented out to local soccer, baseball, and softball teams. The fields do have night lighting which is also a plus. Local groups and residents rent out the pavilion and our town has its annual fireworks display there as well as its 10 annual summertime concerts. Not only are we grateful to the Dr. Arthur and Dr. Martha Pappas Trust for donating $1 million for this $5 million complex but we are also most grateful to all of our donors who graciously contributed to the funding for the complex.”
Note: Thursday, August 31, from 6-8 p.m. is the last Free Concert of the season at the Pappas Recreation Pavilion. Featured is a Tom Petty Tribute by Petty Larceny. The Pappas Complex is located at 203.5 Pakachoag Street, Auburn.
“We try to make it easy for businesses to locate in our town,” stated Town Manager Kazanovicz, “and our Business Coordination Group handles our economic development to assist prospective businesses through the various permitting processes. All in all, our town is looking great.” One of Mr. Kazanovicz’s short-term goals is to develop a sidewalk and pedestrian safety program sustained in the town’s annual operating budget.
In his personal time Ed enjoys hiking, gardening, and cooking but he always looks forward to spending time with his family most especially with the newest family member his granddaughter, Shea.