TOWNSEND -- Town Meeting approved all but three warrant articles Tuesday night.

Residents did not authorize the Board of Selectmen to put out a Request for Proposals to sell two fire stations or the Conservation Commission to accept a parcel of land. They also passed on a bylaw that would have prohibited people from parking and driving on the common.

After discussion and amendments offered to form a committee of residents to approve RFPs to sell the Squannacook Hook and Ladder Center and Harbor Fire stations, the article did not pass.

Selectman Sue Lisio, who submitted the article to prohibit driving and parking on the common, made the motion to take no action on it.

She encouraged people to come together and bring ways to address the problem to the Board of Selectmen.

Voters also authorized the Board of Water Commissioners hire its own legal counsel.

Water Department Superintendent Paul Rafuse said there has been a "conflict of opinion" between the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Water Commissioners about whether the department can have its own counsel.

"The water department needs to hire counsel to conduct business," he said.

Town counsel mentioned a related ongoing case in Middlesex Superior Court between the town and Water Department about its control of the water commission.

The town has argued that the article violates the town charter and that Town Meeting can authorize the Board of Water Commissioners to hire its own counsel.


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Town Moderator John Barrett let the question proceed and it was approved by voters.

In other business, voters approved the town's $22.32 million operating budget.

The largest portion is $12.93 million for assessments to Nashoba Valley Technical High School and the North Middlesex Regional School District.

Public safety, which includes the police and fire departments, will receive a total of $3.19 million.

During discussion about the budget, there was confusion in Memorial Hall about how to follow along with numbers using several provided handouts.

Each had variations of the same information, with the most simplified information laid out in the warrant and the most detailed in a budget book with line items.

Selectmen said for people to use whatever handout they were comfortable with and to let the board know what format works best for them.

Barrett suggested taking a straw poll to see what budget documents attendees prefer.

The approved fiscal 2019 capital plan of about $600,000 includes funding for a police vehicle, police and fire radios, sidewalk plow, and a dump truck.

Voters also passed the following articles:

* Continued updates for the safety communications system for $175,000

* About $980,000 to replace a water main between 512 Main St. and Wheeler Road

* Approval of a strewardship plan for the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers and recommendation to seek a Wild and Scenic River Designation.