AYER — Ayer’s registered voters are called to attend the Annual Town Meeting taking place Monday, May 9 at the auditorium of Ayer High School starting at 7 p.m. There are 38 articles on the printed warrant mailed townwide last week. Unless indicated otherwise, a simple majority vote is needed for passage of each article.
* Article 1 – Vote/accept the April 25 Town Election results.
* Article 2 – Hear/act on any reports of officers and committees.
* Article 3 – Vote on a change to the Personnel Compensation and Classification Plan as amended by stating “no step increases shall be granted for fiscal 2012 for any employee governed by this plan.”
* Article 4 – Vote on the salaries/compensation of elected officers for fiscal 2012. In each instance, there would be no change from present year compensation levels: moderator $562; selectmen chairman $3,856; selectmen members (4) $3,438; assessors chairman $3,909; assessors members (2) $3,497; treasurer $59,788; town clerk $26,905; tax collector $32,884; and tree warden $5,616.
* Article 5 – Vote on the $11,882,586 fiscal 2012 omnibus budget, which includes no step increases for employees subject to the compensation plan.
* Article 6 & 7 – Vote on amendments to the regional school agreement regarding the determination of operating costs for the initial years of the Ayer-Shirley Regional School District (#6) and the assessment of debt-service payments attributable to the district’s owned and leased school buildings (#7).
* Article 8 – Vote on the $8,190,760 fiscal 2012 Regional School District assessment.
Articles 9 through 12 seek a Town Meeting vote on whether to raise, appropriate or transfer into the following enterprise funds:
* Article 9 – Solid waste department: $370,562 in “direct costs” ($194,540 from solid waste revenue, $12,165 from solid waste surplus [free cash] and $163,857 from the tax levy) and $104,600 in “indirect costs” to come from the tax levy.
* Article 10 – Ambulance department: $153,800 in “direct costs” from ambulance revenue, and $284,000 in “indirect costs” from ambulance revenue.
* Article 11 – Sewer department: $2,240,641 in “direct costs” (with $2,212,264 from sewer revenue and $28,377 from the tax levy), and $269,700 of “indirect costs” (with $210,700 from sewer revenue and $59,000 from sewer surplus [free cash]).
* Article 12 – Water department: $1,544,089 in “direct costs” (with $1,413,975 from water revenue and $130,114 from tax levy), and $189,500 in “indirect costs” (with $159,500 from water revenue and $30,000 from water surplus [free cash])..
Articles 13 through 18 seek to create revolving funds, each with an annual cap of 1 percent of the taxation rate in any given fiscal year. Each account would be controlled as follows:
* Article 13 – …by the Communications Committee to support the town website, printing and mailing various newsletters, and other town-wide informational mailings from the committee. Receipts shall be from revenues raised from ads placed in said mailings and on the town website. fiscal 2012 expenditures to be capped at $20,000.
* Article 14 – …by the Fire Chief for the purpose of fire alarm repairs and replacement. Receipts shall be from fire alarm box assessment fees and fines for needless and false alarms. Fiscal 2012 expenditures to be capped at $25,000.
* Article 15 -…by the Fire Chief for the purpose of hazardous materials expense replacement. Receipts from a haz-mat incident shall be from billed services, and will be used for replacement of supplies and expenses. Fiscal 2012 expenditures to be capped at $10,000.
* Article 16 – …by the Fourth of July Committee, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen for the purpose of a Fourth of July revolving fund. Receipts shall be from vendor fees and shall be used for purchasing and promoting the event. Fiscal Year 2012 expenditures to be capped at $25,000.
* Article 17 – … by the superintendent of Public Works for the purpose of a Department of Public Works inspection revolving fund. Receipts to be credited to the fund shall be from development fees or contributions, and shall be used for the purpose of funding inspections of road construction, drainage facilities, and water and sewer line installations. Fiscal 2012 expenditures to be capped at $100,000.
* Article 18 – … by the Board of Selectmen for the purpose of a Town Hall maintenance fund. Receipts shall be from fees assessed for use of Town Hall facilities and may be spent on the costs of operation, maintenance, repair and/or reconstruction at Town Hall and its grounds. Fiscal 2012 expenditures to be capped at $10,000.
* Article 19 – To see if the town will vote to authorize the treasurer, with selectmen approval, to borrow for the purchase of the following as contained in the Capital Budget: For the Water Enterprise, $30,000 for chemical feed pump skids, $30,000 for radio read meters and software billing upgrade, $100,000 for backwash pump replacement (SpecPond), $40,000 for 6-inch bronze (clay) valve replacement (SpecPond), and $30,000 for Spectacle Pond dehumidifiers; For the Sewer Enterprise, $44,000 for a three-quarter ton pickup truck with plow, $40,000 for West Main Street pump station engineering, $35,000 for SCADA upgrades and $30,000 for radio read meters and software billing upgrade; For the Solid Waste Enterprise, $30,000 for a brush chipper and $185,000 for a front-end loader. Principal and interest is to be paid out of the respective enterprise funds and not the General Fund. Requires a two-thirds vote.
* Article 20 – To see if the town will vote to transfer the unexpended balance of $200,000 from the Reserve for Special Borrowing Account of the Sewer Enterprise Fund to provide supplemental funding for the $450,000 Groton School pump station upgrade as previously approved by Annual Town Meeting on May 10, 2010.
Raise and appropriate
* Article 21 – To raise and appropriate $2,102.69 to bind in book form the 2006-2009 Annual Town Reports, birth certificates, death certificates and marriage certificates, along with the 1986-2009 intentions of marriage, and the 1969-2010 street lists.
* Article 22 – Only one of four capital-exclusion questions (Question #1) passed at the April 25 ballot box. Still, Town Meeting approval is required before $193,039 is raised via the fiscal 2012 tax bills for the purchase of federally-mandated radio upgrades for the DPW, Ayer Fire and Police departments (Q#1). Failing at the polls was the raising of $58,000 for federally-mandated street signs (Q#2); $175,000 for a six-wheel dump truck and lift for the DPW (Q#3), and $128,605 for a new generator and automated HVAC system for Town Hall (Q#4).
A two-thirds vote is required for the town to buy land. The selectmen propose the purchase of two Central Avenue parcels for the construction of a parking lot. The same articles were tabled at the October 2010 Fall Town Meeting. No funding source is suggested for the two land purchases.
* Article 23 – Whether to purchase the “Rakip” Property (25,631 square feet) for $26,000.
* Article 24 – Whether to purchase the “Zodiac” Property (10,231 square feet) for $125,000.
* Article 25 – whether to raise and appropriate $98,430 to the Stabilization Fund, with 10 percent of the amount into the capital stabilization fund. Requires a two-thirds vote.
As per the Community Preservation Act, voters will decide whether to appropriate or transfer from the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) as recommended by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC):
* Article 26 – a maximum of $5,000 to meet CPC administrative expenses. Also to reserve from estimated fiscal 2012 CPF revenues for future appropriation sums for the acquisition/creation/preservation of: open space excluding land for recreational use ($89,355), historic resources ($17,871), and community housing ($17,871). Also, the CPC seeks authorization to place $36,614 into the CPF Budgetary Reserve.
* Article 27 – the sum of $12,000 for open space property appraisals and/or other associated pre-acquisition costs for an account called “Open Space Appraisals” under the control of the CPC.
* Article 28 – to grant $100,000 to the Ayer Elderly Housing Partnership for the creation of a passive recreation area. The park would be adjacent to elder housing built within the former Pleasant Street School. In return, the Partnership must provide a conservation restriction on the land.
* Article 29 – to grant $250,000 to Bonnet Realty Co. for the preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of the historic Old Nutting Building (also known as the Fletcher Building) at 51 Main St. The project includes the creation of six affordable-housing units. In return, the company must provide both historic and affordable housing restrictions running to the town.
* Article 30 – See if the town wants to create a fund entitled “Other Post Employment Benefits Liability Trust Fund” to meet the town’s obligations to fund future obligations for the cost of other post employment benefits and funding the account by the raising, appropriation or transfer of $10,000.
* Article 31 – See if the town wants to create a Storm Water Utility Enterprise Fund, effective July 1, 2012, and to enact a new bylaw entitled, “Storm Sewer Management Program Bylaw,” which will authorize the selectmen to enact rules and regulations, including the establishment of fees and charges, for the use of the town’s storm water drains and facilities, and will establish penalties for violation thereof.
* Article 32 – See if the town will vote to transfer from the tax collector to the care, custody and control of the Conservation Commission certain parcels of land at Bennett’s Crossing and Pingry Way to protect wetlands.
* Article 33 – See if the town wants to adopt the “Stretch Energy Code,” a more energy-efficient alternative to the base state building code.
* Article 34 – See if the town will amend the zoning bylaws to include the Zone II Aquifer Protection District lands around Grove Pond Well No.3.
For the following union contracts, voters decide whether to fund and implement collective-bargaining agreements reached between the town and…
* Article 35 – The Ayer Police Superior Officers, NEPBA Local 32. (one year).
* Article 36 – The DPW Employees AFCME Local 93. (three years).
* Article 37 – The Town Hall clerical unit of the Local 1703, State Council 93, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO. (three years).
* Article 38 (inserted by citizens’ petition) – See if the town will raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds the sum of $35,000 for a pond weed-control program for Flanagan Pond. Since the warrant went to press, the selectmen voted to initiate the weed-control program this spring with a $35,000 expenditure from the Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) account.