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Guercio sees Devens, school budget as future problems

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SHIRLEY — The most significant issue the town will face this year, Board of Selectmen member Leonardo “Chip” Guercio said, is the disposition of Devens.

”(The Board of Selectmen) will continue to schedule as many public hearings as possible on the disposition,” Guercio said.

Educating the community about the different elements of the disposition, a high priority for Guercio, is on the agenda throughout the summer until a vote is held first at the town meetings in October then by a ballot vote in November.

Currently, Guercio said selectmen is working with other town boards to formulate the warrant for the annual town meeting. The finalized warrant is scheduled to be signed by May 22, to be presented at the meeting beginning on June 12.

”(The Board of Selectmen) will work to continue to operate the town effectively within the budget as opposed to proposing an override,” Guercio said.

An area Guercio said he knows will need the town’s support and board’s cooperation is the school budget.

Aware of the financial shortfall the school district is facing, Guercio said the board has been holding working meetings with the School Committee to address its budget concerns.

”(The board) has very good lines of communication with the School Committee now,” he said.

At a tentatively-scheduled mid-May meeting with the committee, Guercio said the selectmen will try to continue the dialogue to address the potential shortfall.

”It will be a role of the Selectmen to work cooperatively with the School Committee to present a funded budget for the schools,” Guercio said.

”(The selectmen) know that the school is a part of the whole town,” he said.

For the long term, Guercio said the town has land adjacent to the police station that could be used to house a project for the seniors.

At the Center Town Hall there is a drop-in center, but Guercio said he feels that seniors should have a more modern facility.

The project has been on the back burner since the process of upgrading to town sewerage began, he said, and with building the new middle school.

Guercio said the selectmen will see if the center fits into the budget and investigate possible sources of funding, either through the state or by available grants.

”My plan is to work with Shirley seniors to pursue the construction of a modest senior center, enabling the seniors to have a modern facility to visit,” Guercio said.

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