By Anne O’Connor
PEPPERELL — Town Meeting roared right through most of the articles on the warrant.
When it came to approving the $23.3 million budget, the presentations took much longer than the actual vote on Monday.
Voters heard from the town administrator and school superintendent about the requests.
Applause broke out when the town administrator said this would be the first year in many years the library would not need a state waiver.
Many positions cut in previous years are restored, but “we still have a ways to go,” said Selectman Melissa Tzanoudakis.
Resident Laurie Masiello praised the budget.
“I thought that was an impressive list,” she said. “As a business owner I know how hard it is to reach that compromise.”
The Finance Committee, with one dissenting vote, recommended the budget, said Chairman Holly Seiferth.
John Ladick, a Finance Committee member, said he did not support the school budget because they are increasing at a rate that the town cannot sustain.
The budget passed by a voice vote. Prior to the vote, a two-thirds vote was taken to move the question.
A motion to implementing local meals tax passed by a voice vote.
Town officials spoke in favor of the additional revenue.
Town Administrator Mark Andrews said he spoke with business owners who were OK with the change.
The meals tax will increase to 7 percent from 6.25 percent.
“I’m definitely in favor of this, resident Pam Mariano said. “It’s a penny on the dollar.”
The tax would mean more first responders, the owner of Mariano’s said.
Belgium is 17 percent for meals, a resident said, “so we’re still doing very well.”
The increase will be effective July 1, Tzanoudakis said after the meeting.
One article was passed over, the rest were approved, including revolving accounts and other matters Andrews called “housekeeping.”
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