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The Board of Selectmen recognized the Ayer Shirley FIRST Robotics team with a certificate. NASHOBA VALLEY VOICE/ANNE O’CONNOR

By Anne O’Connor

AYER — The first item on the agenda for the Board of Selectmen was to recognize the Ayer Shirley FIRST Robotics Team.

The 3-year-old team has won awards every year. This year, the team ranked 19 out of 181 New England teams.

“Can you build a selectman?” asked Chairman Gary Luca on Tuesday to laughter. “I’ll bet you can.”

Then, it was on the tasks that needed to be done to move forward and to close out the current fiscal year.

Two part-time employees moved to full-time positions in the Police Department effective July 1.

Heather Sherry, the records clerk, and dispatcher Callie McCarthy received recommendations from both the police and fire chiefs.

“They’re doing a fantastic job,” said Police Chief William Murray.

“Two thumbs up,” said Fire Chief Robert Pedrazzi.

The increase in hours for the positions was approved as part of the budget at the spring Town Meeting.

A transfer of $10,000 from the reserve fund to the ambulance enterprise fund was approved. The money is needed to pay for unexpected repairs to an ambulance that was traded in and medical supplies, Pedrazzi said.

A second transfer from the reserve fund to the Fire Department fund of $16,161 was approved. The funds are needed to pay for sick time and coverage due to an on-the-job injury, the chief said.

Selectmen unanimously approved two new policies put forward by the Personnel Board. The new Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI, policy and the sexual-harassment policy were discussed at a public hearing and with other town officials, said Chairman Sam Goodwin.

“We’ve made it as broad and encompassing as possible,” he said.

The selectmen also approved four items brought by Mark Wetzel, the Department of Public Works supervisor.

He recommended that the sewer connection fee be increased from $1,500 to $4,800 for a three-bedroom house.

After selectmen asked him to review a smaller increase, to $2,500, at a previous meeting, he said he arrived at this figure. “It will offset your rate increases,” he said.

Selectman Chris Hillman said it was a bargain compared to prices in nearby Westford.

Luca voted against the fee, asking how a three-fold increase could be justified.

Wetzel’s other items were approved unanimously. The selectmen accepted a $49,758 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for the Complete Streets Prioritization Plan, approved up to $35,000 to hire a part-time engineering consultant to inspect the Pleasant Street construction and allowed a ten percent discount for qualifying seniors on their water and sewer rate bills.

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter and Tout @a1oconnor.

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