- Name: Michael Garabedian
- Age: 57
- Occupation: General Manager at Manchester Subaru
- Political office: City Council, 12 years (At-Large, 2002 - present); School Committee, 8 years (1994-2001)
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?
Mike Garabedian: My first priority is to continue with the revitalization of Peabody Square. We have already slowed traffic down, and beautified it with islands and cut-outs, which in turn has already made it a safer place to walk as well as drive through.
I am firm in believing that Peabody Square is in dire need of commercial development. We must be aggressive in allocating businesses in the downtown area such as well named eateries, places for people to shop, and possibly some nice apartments; in that commercial development, we must make sure that downtown parking is plentiful and convenient. We must look into the possibility of a parking garage nearby, and to do so, we must seek funding and grants.
As a city, we need to continue to let our economy grow and to do so we need to move forward with our revitalization ideas and plans for Peabody Square. I believe it is essential in the continuation of building a strong economy for our city.
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?
Garabedian: Peabody has been able to build a new Carroll School, a new Brown School and hopefully as of next spring, we will begin the building of the new Higgins Middle School. The mayor has also put a $5.1 million bond proposal through the City Council. This proposal would be used to dredge Crystal Lake, supply the Fire Department with a modern pumper truck and equipment, supply the police station with new computers, remove sludge from Winona Pond, give aid to the Torigian Center day care, supply the schools with new cafeteria tables and put a turf football field at the high school, as well as a few other citywide improvements.
I believe Peabody has done well financially; we have managed to maintain a AA Bond Rating, which in turn has given us the opportunity to borrow money at a very low rate. Peabody is still considered to be one of the lowest tax rates in the state.
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?
Garabedian: There are many things about Peabody I am proud of. My wife and I were born and raised here; we also raised and educated both our children in Peabody. It’s a wonderful place to raise your family as well as retire.
Peabody was one of five Massachusetts communities ranked as one of the hundred best places to live (in small cities across the nation with populations between 50,000 and 300,000), by Money Magazine. Money Magazine based this on what families care about the most, which are job opportunities, good schools, low crime rate, quality health care, as well being able to keep ourselves entertained.
As a lifelong citizen of Peabody, I am so proud of our community. We are so fortunate to have great sports programs for our children, our senior citizens have wonderful services, I believe we have a great public school system, and fantastic shopping and dining conveniences; it also helps when you have great highway access to Route 95 and Route 93. We are also fortunate to have Centennial Park in South Peabody that employes hundreds of people which enables us to keep our tax base low.