AYER -- Selectmen approved the six-article warrant for the Special Town Meeting on Monday, Oct. 28.
The former fire station is the focus of one article that would "transfer the care, custody, maintenance and control of the town-owned land and improvements or disposal of the building to the control of the BOS."
The Fire Station Re-Use Committee issued a request for proposals for the sale or lease of the building with no responses. Passing this article would allow the BOS to sell the property with all proceeds going into the town's general fund. This article must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote.
The second article is for the acceptance of Easy Street as a public way.
The third is for a transfer of $72,000 from the Wastewater Enterprise Fund Surplus for the purpose of replacing the Crabtree Wastewater Pumping Station. Although the cost brought to the BOS was for the amount of $64,538, DPW Superintendent Mark Wetzel requested the additional funds for a 10 percent contingency.
Selectmen Chairwoman Pauline Conley pointed out that 10 percent added to the amount would be closer to $70,000. The board approved the article for the amount of $70,000 to address the declining state of the pumping station.
The fourth is for the adoption of MGL Chapter 40, Section 8G (police mutual aid), which allows the town to participate in certain police mutual-aid agreements.
The fifth article is for a transfer from capital stabilization for a town-wide telephone upgrade for $45,000. This would update the systems for the DPW, library, police and Town Hall. This article must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote.
The sixth is a transfer article from BOS salary to the Information Technology Departmental budget for a computerized video screen and stand for Town Hall. The BOS salary amount of $2,506 would go to the IT department budget. Additionally, the sum of $4,000 from capital stabilization will also be requested to fund the tool. The computerized video screen is called a Mondopad and has the capacity for video, audio, video-conferencing, Internet access and various other presentations.
Although the article was approved by selectmen, Selectman Gary Luca felt that it could wait until spring Town Meeting. Other selectmen felt the tool is a necessity to bring the board up to date as well as to assist in conference calls or remote participation during BOS meeting times. This article must have a two-thirds vote.
Overlay District for Devens
Joint Boards of Selectmen Chairman Luca introduced the Devens transition and integration matrix plan discussed at the last JBOS meeting, which would begin to form an overlay district for the DREZ area.
Jurisdiction over the land would remain shared by the respective towns of Ayer, Harvard and Shirley, but this plan would give the residents of Devens a governing group to go to for municipal needs.
"This isn't going to solve it all, but all of the other towns are bringing it back to their boards," Luca said. "It (would be) governed by the JBOS in some way or another and possibly a town manager or town administrator and Mass Development becomes a landowner and developer. This way it gives some continuity for people living up there."
"I did get rather fed up with Mass Development through their leadership not paying attention to the JBOS the way they should," former JBOS member Fay said.
Selectmen indicated a strong feeling about being part of anything that happens at Devens in the future.
"2033 is not far away and there are huge ramifications up there in terms of what gets done," Hillman said of the deadline for Devens disposition.
"I do want the town of Ayer to be at the table anytime anything happens at Devens," Fay said.
"I think it's exciting going forward," Luca said. "I think there's an opportunity for the towns to share what's going on up there."
The board agreed that the transition and integration matrix plan for Devens is heading in the right direction and is on board with future development for an overlay district.
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