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The town’s economic development would benefit if it established a public water supply in its business and light industrial district, according to Planning Board member Kathleen Pearson. She presented a report to both selectmen and the Planning Board, assembled over a year as part of her involvement in the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program at Northeastern University. She pointed out that over the past several years, Newbury’s expenses have outweighed its revenues, with what she called “anorexic” levels for department budgets. Examining several options, she came to the conclusion that the town’s most advantageous move would be to spend $6.6 million dollars to establish a public water supply with the Byfield Water District. Doing so would result in additional annual tax revenues of $924,000, with the town receiving a return on its investment in 14 years.

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