TOWNSEND — The Finance Committee was the latest to hear from the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee in its effort to educate the citizenry about the upcoming warrant article at the special town meeting to be held Nov. 18.
The Community Preservation Act is a taxpayer-funded, state-matched fund set up to protect the local interests of the town. The monies are intended to support projects dealing with open space, historical preservation, recreation and affordable housing. The state matches the funds raised by the town. Though there is no guarantee this will continue, other local towns has received thousands of dollars in matching state preservation funds.
Adoption of the proposed act met with some skepticism from committee members about the state’s ability to make good on its return. Other members seemed open to the idea.
Michele Cannon spearheaded the effort along with Karen Chapman.
“It’s all very nice, but the state has no money anyway,” FinCom Chairman Andrea Wood said. “Though I do agree there is a sinful neglect of municipal buildings.”
“It’s a dedicated account,” Cannon said of the fund. “It’s like a savings account and the state pays the interest.”
Proponents contend that if the fund had been available when the overhaul of Memorial Hall was done, the town could have saved over $1 million.
“I think it’s interesting that the year no one has any money, they come to us asking for some,” FinCom member John Whittemore said. “I just worry that the other towns with the bigger hands will get the money.
“How are we going to stand up to Cambridge and the other towns and cities?” asked Whittemore.
Cannon and Chapman stressed that any funds contributed by Townsend taxpayers will stay in Townsend.
Generally, FinCom members expressed a lack of confidence in Beacon Hill for the matching funds.
Whittemore referred to the Boston politicians as “scoundrels.”
No decision on the committee’s recommendation was made.
In other news, police Chief Erving Marshall appeared to discuss the upcoming town meeting article asking the town to transfer money to hire an animal control officer.
In previous years, the town has shared an animal control officer with Pepperell. But due to a retirement, that position is open and the town wants to hire someone part-time to take over the duties.
Most discussion about the position centered on the possibility of any type of fees being associated with it.
“I just want to be sure there are no hidden fees,” board member Paul Concemi said.
Marshall assured the board that nothing beyond the infrequent kenneling of a stray animal would be required.
“Occasionally, we might have to pick up a stray,” he said. “In that case, there may be a fee associated with putting the animal in a kennel.”
Marshall iterated his oversight of the post. “This officer is going to be like my crossing guards. I oversee them,” the chief said.
The motion to support the animal control officer article passed unanimously.