SHIRLEY -- The Government Study/Bylaw Review Committee agreed at its meeting Monday night that proposed changes to town bylaws they plan to forward will take time to refine. They won't be presented all at once as articles on the fall Town Meeting warrant.
For example, they decided to table an article that deals with health and sanitation regulations and calls for collaboration with the Board of Health, not only to update and clarify antiquated bylaw terms but also to set appropriate penalties for violations. Such violations would include improper trash disposal or littering, which now carries such a small fine it's not worth enforcing, members agreed.
Member Frank Esielionis pointed out that an existing provision stating, in effect, that trash bins can't be visible from the street (except on collection days) could be problematic, not only for residents for but for municipal and school buildings, too. He cited a mobile home park, for example, where Dumpsters are parked outside the units.
The group resolved to bring the issue up with the Board of Health at its next meeting.
It won't come up at the fall Town Meeting, however.
An article to upgrade police regulations will likely make the final cut, once a few points are settled and with input from the incoming chief of police. The new chief will be sworn in at the next selectmen's meeting and, hopefully, starts work next month, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin said.
The original study committee, which created the bylaw review group as a subcommittee, consists of Frank Esielionis, Mark Prokowiew and Bryan Dumont; the subgroup brings two additional members to the table: Garvin and Town Clerk Amy McDougall.
There was some discussion of penalties in general and whether they should be incorporated in the amended bylaws as well as the articles that seek to change them, as Esielionis suggested. His motion to that effect passed unanimously.
While McDougall didn't disagree on that point, she said that given the rough edges they are still working on, it might be wise to give the process more time rather than present all of the proposed changes at one Town Meeting. Others agreed it was a good idea.
Garvin was already on the same page, she said, also noting that a proposal to change the timeline for Town Meeting that the group has been discussing calls for at least one public forum first. "I really do want to hear what the community has to say," she said.
The working premise is that Annual Town Meeting should precede rather than follow annual town elections, so that newly elected officials are not faced with defending a municipal budget they didn't take part in creating.
For now, the committee decided to polish the police piece for the fall Town Meeting, set for Nov. 10, and do more work on the others.
In the meantime, they agreed to hammer out penalty amounts in collaboration with boards and departments they pertain to, such as the health and planning boards, selectmen and the Conservation Commission.
The committee's next meeting is Sept. 8 at 3:30 p.m. in the Town Offices.