SHIRLEY — The operating budget town officials will take to the Annual Town Meeting (ATM) is still a work in progress, but the warrant is ready to go.
Town administrator Kyle Keady presented the latest draft to the Board of Selectmen at its May 27 deficit meeting. With the exception of figures that must still be plugged in, the document is complete, he said. It will next go to town counsel for review.
The 22-article roster includes several procedural and housekeeping items, an appropriation of Chapter 90 state highway funds for the Department of Public Works (DPW), the fiscal year 2009 general operating budget and a $93,794 request for the Ambulance Department. The money comes not from the town budget, but from the ambulance enterprise fund, which includes retained earnings and estimated receipts from user fees.
Another self-sustaining budget voters will be asked to adopt is that of the Sewer Department, which covers its operating costs via betterments, user fees and retained earnings.
In separate articles, voters will be asked to appropriate “from available funds” $25,000 for the Regional School District Planning Committee and $100,000 for Main Street bridge repairs.
Fund transfers are also requested for other purposes, such as debt management.
Voters will also be asked to approve a five-year capital improvement plan; amend and adjust the wage and salary classification plan for town employees; renew certain property-tax exemptions for “qualified persons,” including residents who are blind, infirm, orphaned, widowed or over age 70; and set up or continue “departmental revolving funds” for specific town entities to cover expenses and services. That list includes the Council on Aging (COA) van service, dog licensing, recycling, recreational fields and implementing the storm-water management bylaw, among others.
In addition, a couple of articles submitted by Selectman Enrico Cappucci call for amending town bylaws. One seeks to set a quorum of 100 people for a Special Town Meeting. The other would dismantle the so-called three-minute rule, a procedural restriction set by the moderator that limits speaking time at town meetings.
A new article submitted by Selectman Armand “Andy” Deveau asks if voters will accept the provisions of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 43D, “Expedited Permitting,” with details provided in an appendix to the warrant.
The town will also be asked to accept Hill Lane as a town road — that is, if problems that would prevent it have been solved.
Almost all of them have been taken care of, said DPW Director Joseph Lynch. Those that haven’t should be very soon, he said.
Further, voters will be asked to accept a land easement on Cottage Street related to the site of a utility pole at the intersection with Catacunemaug Road that’s slated to be moved. When the pole is relocated, a slice of pavement around it will be on private property. The proposed easement is with the owner, who has agreed to grant it if the pole is moved.
And voters will again be asked to authorize the sale of a two-acre parcel behind the Great Wall restaurant on Main Street. The former location of a tavern, the land was graded and graveled as a parking lot but is seldom used. The selectmen want to sell it to raise revenue.