- Name: David Gravel
- Age: 57
- Occupation: Owner/President of GraVoc Associates, Inc.
- Political office: City Council, 6 years (At-Large, 2008 - present); School Committee, 8 years (1996-2003)
Peabody Patch: If elected to the City Council, what issue would be first priority for you? What is one area you would like to see the city devote more resources to?
David Gravel: As a city councilor, my focus for the past six years has been and will continue to be on maintaining and improving the quality of life for the citizens of Peabody. My priorities in the forthcoming term would be to continue to keep our taxes low while investing in our infrastructure and our growth. We have worked hard to make improvements to our downtown and Centennial Park, we need to continue to work on these areas as they are a major part of our economic success in maintaining a low residential tax base. We need to continue to invest in our roads and sidewalks keeping them clean, safe, and in good repair. We also have to continue to focus resources on our schools because excellence in our educational system will help us thrive as a community and maintain the value in our homes. Public safety, our police and fire, are also important to me. We need to ensure that our public safety employees are well trained and equipped to meet the needs of our community. Flood mitigation is also an important component throughout our city, we need to continue to look at smart ways to resolve flooding issues that occur not only in our downtown, but in our neighborhoods as well. To achieve these goals we must use reason and common sense as we invest our taxpayer’s money. I would like to see us continue to make progress in all of these areas and retake our position as the premier community of the North Shore.
Patch: Peabody property taxes continue to be among the lowest in the area, along with many other fees homeowners or residents may pay in the city. Are taxpayers' getting their money's worth; is the city not spending enough to provide services, education, etc; or are Peabody taxpayers still paying too much?
Gravel: I am proud and pleased that Peabody’s property taxes are the lowest in the area. This did not occur by accident, nor should it stop. We have done a good job of addressing priorities and living within our means. The thing that keeps our property taxes low is the fact that our tax base is balanced between residential and commercial properties. To keep our taxes low for everyone, we need to have a strong commercial presence in our city that is growing and vibrant. This is why it is important to continue to attract businesses to Peabody’s business zones and to make Peabody a place where they want to stay, and where their employees want to live. If we achieve this goal, then we will generate the necessary tax revenue to keep our city great and affordable. Our taxpayers are getting great value for their tax dollars. The city is continuing to look at ways to be more efficient and to mold itself into a 21st century operation. Recent investments in software and other technologies will allow us to continue to make productivity improvements and extract efficiencies wherever possible. So to answer your question directly, I believe the city is spending the appropriate amount for the services we provide, but we need to constantly assess this to ensure we strike a balance between the cost and the benefits of these services.
Patch: Under the current mayor's administration there has been a concentrated effort to reinvigorate "pride in Peabody," which many people in the city have rallied around. What is one thing you are proud of about Peabody?
Gravel: I am proud of many things about Peabody. I am proud that we have maintained our low tax rate, exceptional bond rating, and our cash reserve while we have begun to invest in our infrastructure and our services. I am proud of the fact that we were able to revitalize our zoning to make Peabody a more attractive location for 21st century businesses while at the same time maintaining the integrity and quality of our residential neighborhoods. I am proud of the fact that we had the political courage to say yes to join the regional vocational system and participate in the building of a new state-of-the-art school. I am proud of our decision to replace our middle school rather than make especially costly repairs to a building that was never built to be a middle school. I am proud of the revitalization efforts we are making to our downtown and Centennial Park to ignite new interest in our city. I am proud that we have designated funds to repair our streets and sidewalks as well as clean Crystal Lake. I am exceptionally proud of the strides we are making to restore our image as the “gem” of the North Shore. Finally, I am proud that I have had the opportunity to be a part of this progress and to use my skills and experience in such a positive endeavor.