Friday, September 24, 1999
Special Town Meeting Warrant: land acquisition to budget shortfall
As of September 14, the selectmen were considering seven articles to be on the Warrant for the Special Town Meeting scheduled for November 2.
The first item voters should expect to see on the Warrant is the purchase of the former Saint Irene Church on 72 Bedford Road for general municipal purposes at a purchase price of $245,000 plus associated costs which, according to members of the town's financial management team, could raise the price tag as much as $45,000. The second article will be the revised cell tower bylaw. There will also be an article increasing the police department budget by $15,000 to reflect final negotiations of the police contract. Another article, according to town administrator David DeManche, will request a nominal amount for the salary of the veterans' agent. Selectmen also discussed a fifth article that will request funds for payment of unemployment insurance claims of certain teachers whose contracts were not renewed. This amount is expected to exceed the $10,000 allocated for this purpose in the spring.
The Carlisle Public School requested an article appropriating an additional $5,000 for the construction of a ramp on the Brick Building to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, Spring Town Meeting had allocated $10,000 for ADA compliance, so selectmen deferred to the ADA committee for a recommendation on this article.
The last item relates to an adjustment to the FY00 budget necessitated by an estimated $200,000 shortfall in the amount allocated by the town and the amount which can be collected under the Proposition 2-1/2 levy limit. (See story on page 1) Selectman Doug Stevenson explained that $142,000 of the shortfall is attributable to a transfer from free cash that was expected to be made in the spring but was inadvertently left out of the motion at Town Meeting. Stevenson further explained at that meeting that a large part of the remaining shortfall was due to local receipts falling short of expectations.
The town's financial team met on September 21 to identify more precisely the elements of the budget shortfall and to consider whether to recommend a transfer from free cash to cover the gap. Stevenson urged that a contingency plan be forwarded in the event Town Meeting does not approve the FinTeam's recommendation. FinTeam members discussed that this plan could entail an across-the-board cut in all town operating budgets. No final decisions were made at this meeting.
Not on the Warrant
Housing authority chair Marty Galligan appeared before the board to say he will not be forwarding any article about affordable housing but will instead give a short update on the Conant Land study approved in the spring. Stevenson reported that the planning board has opted not to advance any bylaw changes this fall, other than the cell tower revisions.
Land on West Street
Susan Dollinger and Christopher Fleming of 662 West Street have given notice to the selectmen of a purchase and sale agreement entered into with James Harris d/b/a New England Custom Homes for 9.3 acres off West Street which had been classified as agricultural land under Chapter 61A. The purchase price under the contract is $1 million, and the town has 120 days in which to decide whether to exercise its right of first refusal.
Natural gas deregulation
National Energy Choice, an aggregator of natural gas in the now deregulated natural gas market, made a presentation and claimed Carlisle could save approximately $750 over a six-month period if the town switched its accounts from Boston Gas. Selectmen deferred a decision until they could do price comparisons with competitors.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito