TOWNSEND — Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the Special Town Meeting warrant Tuesday, including an article to authorize the building of a new fire station headquarters.
Selectmen questioned hesitation on the part of the Capital Planning Committee at their Oct. 17 meeting to add the project to the town’s capital plan.
Selectman Colin McNabb, who also serves on the Capital Planning Committee, said the committee had discussed including an article to approve just land acquisition and site work at the Nov. 19 Special Town Meeting and approve the building project at a later Town Meeting.
The CPC delayed its vote on adding the fire station to the capital plan until their next meeting on Nov. 7. Either the approval of the Board of Selectmen or an addition to the capital plan is necessary to include the article on the Town Meeting warrant.
Selectmen Chairman Sue Lisio said she did not fully understand the Capital Planning Committee’s concerns.
“I find it difficult to give any kind of direction or respond to something that was not voted on,” Lisio said.
Fire Chief Donald Klein said that breaking up the site work from the building project makes it more likely that site work would have to be redone if the building project was delayed.
“I don’t want to do site work for a building that we may or may not want to build,” Klein said.
The proposed $11.3 million headquarters would be built at Scales Lane on a 6-acre parcel of land currently owned by the Townsend Ridge Country Club.
Selectmen also voted unanimously to remove an article from the warrant that would have allowed department heads the authority to consult town counsel on their own with approval from the town administrator.
Selectman Robert Plamondon said the article would allow department heads to bypass the typical chain of command, which he said could create problems.
“There’s a reason that management has a role in the hierarchy. People might not like that, and they might have trouble dealing with that, but that’s reality. To circumvent the management chain of command is something that you don’t do,” Plamondon said.
Lisio said she was concerned with how these consultations with town counsel would be funded.
“It doesn’t work to allow department heads to spend money out of other people’s budgets,” Lisio said.
Lisio also questioned an article that provides for the enforcement of the town’s mandatory recycling program.
Under the article, the enforcement would be done by the municipal recycling enforcement coordinator, a temporary position that is being funded by an outside grant expected to last for 18 months.
“We’ve created a new position but it’s a temporarily funded position, it’s not funded by the town, it’s not covered by the budget,” Lisio said.
Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said he would look into the issue before presenting the warrant to selectmen to be signed out of session.
Other articles on the warrant include a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, a zoning bylaw on wind energy and a provision to authorize the sale of alcohol at restaurants between 10 a.m. and noon on Sundays.
Special Town Meeting will be held Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
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