TOWNSEND -- Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan provided an explanation of the warrant articles on the May 6 Annual Town Meeting to selectmen April 8.
Although selectmen decided to wait to approve the warrant in case any last minute articles came up, Sheehan said it is unlikely that the warrant would change much.
Many of the articles are standard, Sheehan said, including articles to fund the snow and ice deficit, pay prior fiscal year bills and approve the fiscal year 2015 budget.
Although the budget has not yet been finalized, Sheehan said he is currently looking at an $18.49 million budget, a 4.6 percent increase over last year.
An article to appropriate $11.3 million to build a new fire station headquarters will go before voters. The article was originally on the warrant for last November's Special Town Meeting, but was not voted on because members of the Capital Planning Committee voted against adding it to the town's capital plan.
A $150,000 article to pay for road improvements is also on the warrant. Selectmen decided on a warrant article as a way to supplement the Chapter 90 money the town receives from the state in order to bolster the town's deteriorating roads.
An article for $22,000 would restore funding to the Recreation Commission that was withdrawn by the town five years ago. Representatives from the Recreation Commission have said that their programs will be defunct in 18 months without town funding, but Selectmen Chairman Sue Lisio said she would not support the article, that the commission should be self-funded.
The Board of Health submitted an article for $71,000 to offer weekly recycling pick-up. The town, which mandates recycling for all households, currently offers bi-weekly pickup. A nonbinding referendum to gauge resident support for this effort has been placed on the ballot for the April 28 town election.
If passed, a proposed change to the Capital Planning Committee bylaw would allow selectmen to add items to the capital plan that they deem to be "of compelling need." The bylaw in its current form only allows selectmen to add emergency articles.
The draft warrant includes a request from selectmen to purchase a new copier/printer for Town Hall, and requests from Police Chief Erving Marshall to buy new electronic defibrillators and to either replace or refurbish firearms carried by officers.
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