Regular Town Meeting starts tonight at 7 p.m.

Nov 5, 2018 by

Published in the November 5, 2018 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Voters will face 39 articles when Regular Town Meeting convenes tonight at 7 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Galvin Middle School. The unusually large number of articles for a fall Town Meeting is mainly due to Bylaw Review Committee and Charter Review Committee recommendations, which make up a majority of the articles on the warrant.

Town Meeting is expected to require at least two additional nights beyond tonight to complete.

Under Article 1, Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio will present his recap of Fiscal Year 2018, which ended on June 30.

Article 2 will ask Town Meeting to approve $3 million from Free Cash to balance the FY 2019 budget.

Article 3 seeks “to appropriate $147,442 of the net premium paid to the town upon the sale of its $9,870,000 General Obligation Municipal Purpose Loan of 2018 Bonds dated August 15, 2018, to pay costs of the project being financed by such bonds.” Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio explained that, due to its excellent credit rating the town receives a premium on the sale of bonds issued. This article will allow the town to use that premium to reduce the amount being borrowed.

Maio explained that Article 4 is a cleanup article, removing money from the town’s books that was authorized to be borrowed for various projects but was ultimately not needed.

Article 5 will ask Town Meeting to appropriate $30,000 to fund a collective bargaining agreement between the town and the clerical workers’ union.

Arrticle 6 seeks $100,000 to fund a collective bargaining agreement between the town and the DPW laborers’ union.

Article 7 seeks $331,000 from Free Cash for Phase 1 of design improvements and upgrades to the downtown right-of-way corridor, including Main Street from Church Street to Nahant Street, all of Common Street, Albion Street from Main Street to Tuttle Street, Water Street from Main Street to Vernon Street, Lake Avenue and Spaulding Street and certain related areas.

Under Article 8, Town Meeting will be asked to appropriate $500,000 from Free Cash to supplement the School Department’s Special Education Stabilization Fund. This account is used to fund unexpected SPED costs. A Town Meeting vote is required for the School Department to access this fund.

Article 9 will ask Town Meeting to appropriate $200,000 from Free Cash for improvements at Walsh Field including relocating the backstop and installing additional netting to limit the number of foul balls leaving the field and landing in the Dobbins Tennis Courts and other areas outside of the field.

Under Article 10, Town Meeting will be asked to approve $110,000 from Free Cash for a “townwide orthophoto, planimetric and topographic mapping” project.

Article 11 would authorize the Town Council to apply for, receive and expend without further appropriation an interest-free loan/grant from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for the purpose of funding the town’s sewer infiltration/inflow removal program, and further to appropriate a sufficient sum of money to fund the town’s portion of the costs of the program.

Article 12 will ask Town Meeting to vote to transfer from the Water Surplus Reserve Account a sufficient sum of money for improvements or replacements of water mains at various locations throughout the town.

Article 13 will seek to transfer from the Sewer Surplus Reserve Account a sufficient sum of money for sewer mains at various locations throughout the town.

Articles 14, 15 and 16 relate to work that DPW Director Richard Stinson had done with the Bylaw Review Committee to adopt legislation regarding how cuts to roadways in towns are funded, whether those cuts are performed by the Municipal Gas & Light Department, the Water & Sewer Division or a private contractor, including setting up a revolving account for those funds.

Article 18 is a Bylaw Review Committee article that aims to continue preservation of historic buildings and strengthen penalties for unlawful demolition of  historic structures. Under changes proposed in this article the Historical Commission and the Building Inspector would each be specifically authorized to institute any actions and proceedings as necessary or appropriate to obtain compliance and prevent violations. The changes also make the petitioner responsible for the cost of hearings when seeking a waiver of the demolition delay.

Article 19 is a Bylaw Review Committee recommendation that relates to hunting and trapping. The changes proposed are intended to clean up language and remove gender references.

The motion at Town Meeting on Article 20 will be for indefinite postponement. The Bylaw Review Committee article was intended to clarify the procedure for fingerprint-based criminal record background checks. But at the request of Police Chief Rick Smith, the article will be deferred pending further review and changes.

Article 21 clarifies terms and removes conflicting language from the bylaw that applies to sidewalk cafes.

Artlcle 22 concerns the bylaw related to news racks (the metal boxes for selling newspapers) and sets out size and location requirements.

Article 23 seeks to clarify definitions and makes language changes to the town bylaw related to sewers.

Article 24 would make the local bylaw related to storm drains consistent with federal and state law (as requested by DPW) and clarifies homeowner rights and responsibilities.

Article 25 is another DPW-requested article to make language more consistent in Chapter 185, the bylaw dealing with the town’s water supply.

Article 26 is sponsored by the Town Council. It would authorize the Town Council to petition the Legislature to enact special legislation related to special police officers.

Article 27 is a Charter Review Committee article that would involve moving Annual Town Meeting to later in the Spring – the second Monday of May — to allow for more accurate estimate of state revenue and costs. This article move the annual Town Election to the Town Election to the second Tuesday in April.

Under Article 28 the Charter Review Committee recommends changing “10 business days” to “12 calendar days” for certain town business such as deadlines for filing petitions for referendum elections on Town Meeting articles. This was done to remove any question as to which days are counted for these purposes.

Article 28 would also change the required number of petition signatures from 200 to 5 percent of the total number of registered voters in order to send a Town Meeting article to a vote in an election.

Article 29, another proposed Charter Change, calls for the three-member Board of Assessors to be appointed by the Town Council, rather than elected, as is currently the case. This change was proposed by the present Board of Assessors, who felt that appointing qualified assessors would be better, as the job requires a certain level of expertise.

Under Article 30, the Charter review Committee will recommend changing the Town Moderator’s term from one year to three years. It is currently the only elected town office that has a one-year term.

Under Article 31, the Charter Committee recommends changing the composition of the committee that appoints replacements to fill vacancies on the Finance Committee. Currently, one member of the FinCom Selection Committee is the “past chairman” of the FinCom. The Charter Review Committee recommends changing that to be the current FinCom chairman. They also recommended a time limit for filling vacancies on the Finance Committee.

Article 32 is another proposed Charter change that would reflect the current practice of using email as a legitimate form of delivery of information and notices in the course of town business. This would be done in addition to paper notices.

Article 33 recommends changes to the Charter section on the Board of Health that would bring that section in line with the way that the Board of Health actually conducts business.

Article 34 would change the Charter language related to the Housing Authority to reflect current state law.

Under article 35 Charter language would be changed to accurately reflect a lack of clerical staff at the library.

Article 36 would remove “Recreation Department” from the powers and duties of the DPW. The Recreation Department reports to the Town Administrator.

Article 37 would change the timing of when the preliminary budget is adopted by the School Committee and then submitted to the Town Administrator, from 90 days to 60 days.

Article 38 recommends grammatical and punctuation changes to various sections of the Carter.

Article 39 will ask Town Meeting to appropriate a sum of money for the purpose of settling a claim asserted by The Woods, LLC with respect to environmental contamination allegedly caused by the Town on certain property abutting Butler Avenue.

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