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Town Meeting: One and Done

by Yvette Cain
May 7, 2019

The Town Meeting began with an appointment of a Moderator.  William Mayer was elected unanimously.  He spoke briefly and thanked residents for putting their trust in him.  He recognized the efforts of Jackie Dellicker, whom, he said, the town was privileged to have. 

Below are the articles and actions taken for each:

·         ARTICLE 1: HEAR REPORT OF THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Jay Marsden, Chair, spoke briefly of the Articles presented by the Board of Selectmen. 

Outcome:  Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 2: HEAR REPORT OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE

SPONSORED BY: Finance Committee

Ken Szajda, Chair, briefly summarized revenue sources and reviewed the budget planning process of the Finance Committee.

Outcome: Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 3: AUTHORIZE TREASURER/COLLECTOR TO SELL FORECLOSED TAX TITLE PROPERTIES

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 4: REVISE AND ADOPT A NEW CONSOLIDATED PERSONNEL BY-LAW

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome: Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 5: AMEND GENERAL BY-LAW, PERSONNEL BOARD

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome: Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 6: PAY UNPAID BILLS

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 7: CURRENT FISCAL YEAR TRANSFERS

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome: Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 8: AUTHORIZE BOARD OF SELECTMEN TO SELL SURPLUS EQUIPMENT

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome: Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 9: AUTHORIZATION TO EXPEND CHAPTER 90 FUNDS (STATE AID FOR HIGHWAY PROGRAM)

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome: Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 10: REVOLVING FUND SPENDING LIMITS

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 11: PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS

SPONSORED BY: Board of Assessors

Outcome:  Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 12: CIRCUIT BREAKER INCOME ADJUSTMENT TO DEFERRAL APPLICANTS

SPONSORED BY: Board of Assessors

Outcome:  Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 13: AMEND INTEREST RATE PER ANNUM

SPONSORED BY: Board of Assessors

Outcome:  Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 14: AMEND INCOME REQUIREMENTS

SPONSORED BY: Board of Assessors

Outcome:  Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 15: FISCAL YEAR 2020 BUDGET

SPONSORED BY: Finance Committee (Omnibus Budget)

Outcome:

Selectmen                           Passed

Finance Com                      Passed

Fin.Administration           Passed

Town Acct.                          Passed

Bd Assessors                      Passed

Treas/Coll.                          Passed

Tech Dept                           Passed

Town Clerk                          Passed

Elections                              Passed

Conservation Com           Passed

Planning Bd                        Passed

Zoning Bd Appeals           Passed

Econ Dev                             Passed

Public Bldgs                        Passed

Discussion:  Jon Varrell of 928 Washington St. Questioned the utilization of 1750 Washington St.  He reported not seeing many cars in the parking lot.  Ken Szajda spoke to the utilization of the building by three town offices, stating the building is fully utilized.  Jay Marsden also addressed Mr. Varrell, saying he would get back to him about the full utilization of the building.  Mark Frank of the Park and Rec Department said that as much activity occurs in the lower level, those people are advised to park in the rear of the building.  He reviewed the high attendance of some programs and said they are always looking to increase enrollment in programs.

Police Dept                         Passed

Aux Police                           Passed

Fire Dept                             Passed

Ambulance                         Passed

Building Insp                      Passed

Wts and Measure            Passed

Emerg.Mgmt                     Passed

Animal Control                  Passed

School Dept                        Passed

Discussion:  Jon Varrell questioned the reason substitutes were sometimes unavailable.  Stacey Raffi, Chair of the School Committee said that the substitute pay has been increased, but it is a problem for most towns around us as well as statewide.  She said the schools are doing what they can to attract more substitutes.  

Keefe Tech                         Passed

DPW                                      Passed

Discussion:  Joe Demarkey questioned why the Highland and Hollis Streets was milled prior to paving without a “transition,” but rather with a “bump.”  Ken Szajda said that it was not a financial issue.  Jay Marden said that he would follow up with the DPW director. 

Snow and Ice removal    Passed

Street lighting                    Passed

Solid Waste                        Passed

Waste Water Treatment       Passed

Other Public Works              Passed

Bd Health                              Passed

Council on aging                   Passed

Youth Services                       Passed 

Veterans’ services                  Passed

Library                                     Passed

Parks                                       Passed

Celebrations                             Passed

Debt Service                             Passed

County retirement                      Passed

Workers’ comp                           Passed

Unemployment                            Passed

Employee benefits                       Passed 

Liability Ins                                   Passed

DPW Water                                  Passed

Discussion: Liz Theiler inquired of the $15,000. capital outlay.  Ken Szajda said water mains come through separate articles and are not an ongoing expense

 

·         ARTICLE 16: TRANSFER FROM AVAILABLE FUNDS A SUM OF MONEY FOR THE CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FUND

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome: Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 17: CAPITAL EXPENDITURES

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Comment:  Delete Schools Placentino/Miller Parking Lot Repairs:  total is $961483

Discussion:  Paul Saulnier, 29 Church St., hoped the Town Hall front door replacement would be “in kind.” 

Jon Varrell questioned the request for a wheelchair bus/van.  Dr. Brad Jackson said that the schools do use Accept Collaborative and some private vendors, but have also received some parent complaints.  He noted that some in town students require specialized transport

Outcome:   Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 18: REPORT OF THE COMMUNITY PRESERVATION COMMITTEE

SPONSORED BY: Community Preservation Committee

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 19: TRANSFER FROM AVAILABLE FUNDS A SUM OF MONEY FOR THE STABILIZATION FUND

SPONSORED BY:  Board of Selectmen

Finance Committee Chair Ken Szajda reported that the stabilization fund is well-funded and there is no need to transfer funds at this time – recommended indefinite postponement of this Article

Outcome:  Vote to indefinitely postpone; Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 20: AMEND AGREEMENT FOR THE SOUTH MIDDLESEX REGIONAL VOCATIONAL SCHOOL

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 21: TRANSFER FUNDS FROM WATER RETAINED EARNINGS FOR WATER TREATMENT PLANT

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Discussion: Liz Theiler asked if monies were coming from $75 quarterly fees paid?  Ken Szajda clarified, no. 

Bruce Wood, 128 Dalton Road, asked if this would solve the discolored water issue?  Ken Szajda said last year we authorized the money.  This is step one of that process, for the design plan for that.  Construction will start later this year or next.

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 22: LIBRARY PLANNING CONSUTANT

SPONSORED BY: Board of Library Trustees

Discussion:  Selectman John Cronin added that in the past 10 years, $300,000 has been spent on the Library.  He does not feel that the building is a money pit. Matt Colletti asked about the licensure of the consultant.  Library Director Leslie McDonnell spoke about the consultant, who when hired would work with staff to look at library trends, and grants within the state.  Additionally, it would be good for us to look forward.  Sam Tyler, 353 Chamberlain St. was concerned that the pricetag of $10,000 might be too low to do a good job.  He said the library is important for the quality of life.  McDonnell commented that she had contacted the MA Library Board of Commissioners, and they said this was the going rate.

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 23: SOLAR PANELS AT LANDFILL

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Discussion:  Liz Newman, 40 Spring St., asked, ”What happens to infrastructure when 20 year lease is over?” Jay Marsden said the land is returned just like they found it.

 Outcome:           Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 24: GRANT TRAIL EASEMENT & PARKING LAYOUT “BLAIR SQUARE”

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 25: BLAIR SQUARE IMPROVEMENTS

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 26: MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR OF THE UPPER CHARLES RIVER RAIL TRAIL

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 27: ACCEPT MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAW, CHAPTER 90, SECTIONS 17C & 18B “SPEED LIMITS”

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen

Discussion:  Jon Varrell asked if this would diminish our ability to reduce speed on Route 16. 

Tina Hein, 142 Union Street, addressed those present by saying how this will help the town address our needs by getting rid of red tape.  She cited that lower speed reduces accidents.

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 28: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ENHANCEMENT GRANT LEGISLATION

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen / Economic Development Committee

Discussion:  Matt Colletti, 31 SummitPointe Drive, spoke in support

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 29: AMEND TOWN’S GENERAL BY-LAWS

SPONSORED BY: Town Clerk

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 30: AMEND ZONING BY-LAW

SPONSORED BY: Planning Board

When asked the date this would this take effect, Chris Canning (building inspector ) said as of vote today.  Town Counsel, Jay Tallerman clarified this assessment and said the Attorney General has 90 days to approve, and it would become effective retroactive to the date of its passage.  Ken Szajda requested that future word changes be made available in a before/after format in the future.  Karen Langton of the Zoning Board then illustrated the word and phrase changes with the use of projected slides.    

Outcome:  Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 31: AMEND ZONING BY-LAW

SPONSORED BY: Planning Board

Walter McClennen of Fiske Street asked when these by-law changes would take effect if passed.  Town Counsel responded that all such changes go the State Attorney General for review.  The waiting period for such review is usually 90 days.  If approved, the by-law changes would be effective on May 7, 2019

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 32: AMEND ZONING BY-LAW

SPONSORED BY: Planning Board

Outcome:            Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 33: SUSTAINABILITY COORDINATOR POSITION

SPONSORED BY:  Petition

Jason Dionne, 129 Locust St., highlighted some points concerning the position of sustainability coordinator.  This person would research and secure grants.

Jon Varrell asked if it is a split position with Sherborn, would we be sharing someone they’ve already hired? 

Utah Nichol replied that although it is a shared position, they are working with Sen. Spilka not to do that split. 

Joan Levinson, 66 Jarr Brook Road, said this is an existential problem, and we need a sustainability coordinator to help us reduce our carbon foot print. 

Marilyn Hollman looked for clarification of the salary.  Utah Nichols said it is a $30,000 part time position with approximately $10,000 in benefits

KenSzajda said the Fin Com talked about the position. The salary is the purview of Selectmen.  They can set the compensation.  Fin Com reviewed and voted unanimously to support. 

A motion was made by Walter McClennen, 432 Fiske St, to vote for an indefinite postponement. 

Outcome to Indefinitely postpone:  defeated

Outcome:  Article Passed

 

·         ARTICLE 34: OFF PREMISES LIQUOR LICENSE

SPONSORED BY: Petition

Discussion:  Ken Onfray presented the motion to grant a full liquor license.

Outcome:  Passed

 

Town Meeting adjourned:  10:50.

Moderator Mayer thanked everyone for coming and said that it was unusual to have so much done in one night.

Publishers' Note: We have posted an album of Town Meeting photos on our Facebook page -> 

Town Meeting Photo Album

 

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