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15 Data Points from the 2021 Annual Town Report

The annual town report, issued by the town clerk’s office, is a trove of information for residents. You’ll find everything from salaries for all town elected officials and employees to school enrollment numbers to crime statistics.

Here are 15 surprising and interesting insights. This is just a fraction of the available information. You can download the report for yourself here.

1. Tewksbury actually has fewer residents today than in 2010. The town had 32,516 residents in 2010 versus 30,266 in 2021.

2. There were 16 active nonelected boards and committees in 2021, with more than 100 residents volunteering their time. For 2022, that number is 15 as the Local Housing Partnership dissolved itself in October.

3. In June 2021, the Select Board resumed in-person meetings after having been on WebEx since March 2020. 2021 was also the year the town voted to change Board of Selectmen to Select Board, created a General Bylaw Committee and established the Tewksbury Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Committee, which received the most applications of any new committee.

4. In 2021 the town hired five patrolmen, eight firefighters, five DPW workers, three individuals for the Board of Health, a new town accountant, four library staffers and five additional employees.

5. The vast majority of Tewksbury’s voters are unaffiliated. Of the town’s 23,773 registered voters, 5,088 are Democrats, 2,693 are Republicans — and 15,692 are unenrolled. There are also 300 “other.”

6. There is a shortage of affordable housing across Mass. In 2021, there were 7,700 applicants on the family wait list and 2,677 applicants on the elderly/handicapped wait list, which includes individuals on the Mass. centralized waiting list for state-aided public housing. There were only 21 units turned over in Tewksbury.

7. There are a surprising number of parking scofflaws. The town collected $8,924.60 in fines.

8. Pandemic pup adoptions ticked up. While Tewksbury’s human population declined, the number of dogs registered in town grew from 2,368 in 2016 to 2,618 in 2021. And of course, the town recently welcomed Officer Waffles and Dr. Brownie McSnuggles, CGC.

9. The DPW was busy, resurfacing approximately 1.7 miles of roadways. It also designed a sidewalk along Main Street from Colonial Drive to Victor Drive and won a $220,000 Housing Choice Grant for construction of this project, which will take place this year. DPW workers replaced approximately 6,755 feet of water main and issued 193 sewer permits and 160 water permits, including 31 for secondary water meters. Water & Sewer Division staff assisted the Engineering Division in replacing approximately 6,500 linear feet of old cast iron and asbestos cement water mains. Oh, and Tewksbury’s water use averages 2.40 million gallons per day.

10. Librarians were busy too. In 2021, residents borrowed 93,791 books, 16,982 DVDs and searched 202,729 online magazine and journal articles. With funding from the Friends of the Library and the guest-booking prowess of Robert Hayes, 12,264 adults, 541 teens and 3,890 children attended programs both live and, more often, virtual. There were 276 new library cards issued.

11. The Senior Center is a packing and distribution site for the Meals on Wheels program for Tewksbury. In 2021, there were approximately 120 homebound older adults receiving daily meals each week. The center also provided 1,638 rides to residents over age 60, helping them get to stores and medical appointments.

12. the Tewksbury Fire Department answered calls for assistance and provided service 9,320 times in 2021. There were 66 responses to fires. Engine companies provided residents with lift assistance 311 times, and the ambulance responded to 4,292 calls for medical aid or service. Noted in the report: The Tewksbury Firefighters Union sponsors a File of Life Program, where Tewksbury residents who have a significant medical history can compile this information in a readily accessible and standardized format. To participate in this program, please call (978) 640-4410 and ask to receive the free File of Life.

13. The Tewksbury Police Department logged 52,382 events in 2021, including calls for service, motor vehicle stops and other patrol-initiated activities. Arrests remained under 700, reaching 671, a 22% increase from 2020.

14. The Tewksbury Public Schools welcomed over 50 new staff during the 2020-2021 school year and served 3,180 students, with a budget of $61,262,066. Tewksbury Memorial High School was ranked in the top 20% of high schools in the country, and the Food & Nutrition Services team provided free breakfast and lunch to all students, serving a total of 326,911 meals.

15. Tewksbury is growing. In 2021, there were 1,314 building permits issued with a value of work of approximately $92,240,581. This generated $975,061 in building permit fees. There are 20 ongoing and proposed projects in the works, including a Starbucks, a new bakery and a new high-tech greenhouse. The Planning Board issued 32 special permits for various projects including signs, family suites, commercial projects and residential developments. Three subdivision approvals consisting of 12 individual lots were issued, all of which were also Open Space Residential Design special permits.

Lorna is a 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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