HARVARD -- As the Oct. 16 Special Town Meeting approached, the Finance Committee made its final recommendations on the warrant articles the week prior.
Out of the 11 warrant articles, FinCom recommended five, didn't recommend two, and took no position on two.
The FinCom recommended the first article for the Town Hall Building Project asking for an additional $1.1 million from excluded debt. The $1.1 million would be in addition to the $3.9 million approved in April 2012.
The warrant article and opinion of the FinCom reads, "Since the 2012 Annual Town Meeting, the economy has improved somewhat and the construction industry as well. There are now fewer bidders interested in such a project, and higher prices are being submitted for similar items."
The Municipal Building Committee and the Board of Selectmen have found that given the rising costs of construction, and an increase to the contingencies related to construction to 10 percent and 7 percent, the $1.1 million should be sufficient to carry the project to a conclusion in spring of 2015.
FinCom recommended Article 7 for authorization of the Board of Selectmen to lease property for the operation and construction of a wireless communication tower in the town of Harvard.
An article to increase the penalty for unlicensed dogs in Harvard is also recommended. The article, if passed, would amend the bylaw to increase the fee from $15 to $50 if a dog is not licensed by six months of age or 30 days of ownership.
Article 9 to increase funds for the Harvard Cable Television Committee by $35,000 would be raised and appropriated from the remaining tax levy if passed at Town Meeting, and was recommended.
The need for funds in addition to the $93,000 originally allocated is due to unanticipated increase in construction costs.
The FinCom's last recommendation was Article 3, to authorize the Board of Selectmen to negotiate and enter into payment in lieu of tax agreements, as a pilot, with one or more renewable energy generation companies operating one or more community solar systems.
This recommendation would empower the Board of Selectmen to enter into a pilot negotiation as allowed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, Section 38H.
Articles with no position
The FinCom took no position on corresponding Article 2 to "instruct the Board of Selectmen to convey, in writing, to Representative Jen Benson and Senator Jamie Eldridge, the town's support for legislation making shares in a community solar energy system exempt from taxation on the same basis as if the shares were installed on the properties of the residential and/or nonutility business share owners."
FinCom members found that since there is no such legislation being discussed this governmental session, there is not reason to or to not support this article.
Another corresponding article, article 4 to approve Payment In Lieu of Taxes for one or more Community Solar systems, also left the FinCom without a recommendation as well.
Articles that the FinCom does not recommend includes another involving community solar, Article 5.
Article 8 to amend the town of Harvard Building Department Building Permit Fees by adding "Community Solar" to the list, was not recommended.
FinCom did not look at articles that do not include finances.
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