Thank you for the opportunity to serve you for four years as Ayer's town clerk and tax collector. What a privilege. Though I served in Ayer as an appointed member of two boards prior to being elected to these positions in April 2010, nothing equaled the ongoing opportunity to serve Ayer's people in the manner I did as these two elected offices provided.

Each office brought different insight and understanding of what it meant to serve and help the town. Town clerk was the heart and soul of the community. It was often the first place someone would go to for information on the town, whether they just moved to Ayer, wanted to start a business or needed questions answered about what government or private resources were available to them. And the office itself provided critical data to Ayer's well-being, since the data we compiled was used for the benefit of our and other departments. For instance, census data was used to help with economic development grants, election services and street lists of names and addresses, which benefited the Police and Fire departments as well as businesses looking to expand services and products to the people of Ayer. Ayer's tax collector was equally important but for different reasons. This office collected the majority of locally generated revenue and fees, which kept our municipal government running. That meant collecting tax revenue to pay the bills for the schools, police, fire, library, DPW, Council on Aging and town hall, so the services these departments provided could continue unabated.


Thank you to my assistant clerks for their service to the town -- Lauri in the town clerk office, and in the tax collector office, Roberta, who retired in May 2013, Alice who filled in in the interim, and Mona who is now the full-time assistant tax collector. Without their assistance, all the duties and responsibilities of the offices could never have been met.

And most especially, thank you to my loving wife, Julie, who often went without when I participated in a municipal or community meeting or event that took me away from home in the evening or on the weekend. Full-time government service affects more than just the person who chooses to serve; you quickly learn it involves your whole family as well. Thank you, sweetie, for your love and support.

If I learned anything with absolute certainty in these past four years, it is that Ayer is a truly giving community with a spirit that never dies, a generosity that knows no limits and a kindness that is ever present. One of the first things I did when I took office was place a whiteboard outside our offices. Each week, I or one of my assistants would update that board with what was going on in town. We would often comment on the endless community events throughout Ayer regardless of season. Ayer is a community that just goes and goes. And it is a community that can act spontaneously with a heart bigger than the universe. Remember the Subway building fire. Nearly overnight a group of citizens, businesses and municipal officials began collecting money and goods for the burned out families.

Finally, thank you to the many people of Ayer who have become my dear friends and acquaintances. I will never forget you and will continue to stay in touch.

John Canney