The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 18, 2002


The board of appeals continued their open deliberations for granting the variances requested by American Tower Corporation and a number of cell phone companies to site their 150-foot stealth monopine cell tower on the Duren property at 662 Bedford Road. Town counsel Rich Hucksam was present to give the board guidance on how to proceed in their deliberations, and more specifically, what issues were germane to the discussion and which could be omitted from consideration. ...more

Finance committee member Lisa Jensen-Fellows appeared before the selectmen on January 8 with an overview of the state of the town budget for fiscal year 2003 (FY03). The selectmen had asked for an analysis of the repercussions of holding the tax rate to a 5% increase. Uncertainty regarding items such as pensions and benefits made it impossible to discuss specifics, but it was clear preliminary requested budgets would far surpass the FinCom guideline, which sought to hold the tax rate to a 4.5% increase. ...more

Town administrator Madonna McKenzie had bad news for the finance committee (FinCom) at their first budget hearing of the winter on January 9. First was the budget line titled "pensions and benefits," which actually covers all insurance premiums (including employee and teacher group health insurance), and pensions for town employees. Due to increases in all these areas, the amount required will actually be at least $100,000 over what the finance committee had assumed when setting the guidelines for all town departments. ...more

Finance committee member John Nock observed at the committee's January 9 budget hearing that labor costs are about two-thirds of the town budget. No surprise then that most discussion at that hearing on the public safety budgets involved labor costs well beyond the two-and-a-half-percent budget increase requested by the finance committee in setting guidelines last October. ...more

Late on Wednesday afternoon the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) learned that Ed Mavragis, superintendent of Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle High School, intends to resign. Mavragis said that he will submit a formal resignation at the next meeting of the RSC on Tuesday, January 22. The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the CCHS library and is open to the public. ...more

Carlisle selectman Vivian Chaput smiled broadly when she heard at a recent MAGIC meeting that about four million dollars a year is available to "preserve, restore, or enhance components of an intermodal transportation system which are not traditionally funded by the Federal Highway Administration of the Massachusetts Highway Department." ...more

· Model predicts increasing taxes. At their January 8 meeting the selectmen reviewed with interest the results of a computer model that finance committee member Lisa Jenson-Fellows developed projecting future Carlisle taxes under various scenarios. These projections suggested that if budget growth continues at the current rate, the average residential tax could grow from $8,285 in 2002 to $10,200 in 2007. This scenario included a number of assumptions, including an expectation that state aid of $2,077,038 in 2002 would drop to $1,281,411 by 2007. Building a $15 million school could add $700 to the $10,200 tax bill for a total of $10,900. This assumes no state reimbursement within the five year timeframe. (State reimbursement would begin at a later date.) On the other hand, a slowdown in school population growth, from 4% per year to 2%, would reduce the increase in taxes by $600. "It's a useful tool to tell us how decisions we make now can impact where we end up in five years," said chair John Ballantine. ...more

Sustained volunteer efforts have brought the first segment of the Assabet River Rail Trail (ARRT) to completion and Michelle Ciccolo, an assistant administrator in Hudson who is coordinating the five-town project, reports that other parts of the trail are nearing completion. ...more

Determined to pursue every trail that might lead to legal gold, opponents of a cell tower at 662 Bedford Road followed a somewhat overgrown path at the conservation commission's January 10 meeting. Wesley Stimpson of Canterbury Court presented a formal Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) that asked the board to reconsider its August 2000 approval of an AT&T Wireless RDA that would allow them to install an electrical conduit leading to the proposed tower site at the rear of David Duren's property. The action pertained to the conduit alone, since the required trench would traverse a wetland buffer zone. The decision in no way applied to the proposed cell tower itself, which would be located outside the buffer zone. ...more

Five seemingly prosaic applications for building in 100-foot wetland buffer zones served as springboards for discussions of streams and swimming pools at the conservation commission's January 10 meeting. The most productive was a Notice of Intent (NOI) from Robert Guernsey, who sought approval of plans for a sewage disposal system that "shoehorned in" between a ledge and an abutting well at the last house before the Billerica line on Rutland Street. Only 1,320 square feet of buffer area were to be disturbed and they lay within the flagged area of the old system. ...more

· Sixth-grade team presentation. The Carlisle School sixth-grade team, along with principal Andy Goyer, presented an informative report on the use of the sixth grade teaching assistants. Due to the large size of the sixth-grade class, each team teacher has been assigned a teaching assistant. It had been planned to carry these assistants to the seventh grade. Due to the potential FY03 budget constraints, there have been discussions about areas that might face cutbacks, such as teaching assistants. The sixth-grade team teachers concluded, "The classroom assistants have played a vital role in the support of the general education population, offsetting the need for additional special education staff and/or outside placements." ...more

On January 8, Gary Davis of the DPW approached the selectmen with a request to increase the transfer station sticker fee to $15 from the current $10. In addition, he wants to introduce a $100 fee for contractors and other heavy users of the construction waste dumpsters. These fees are necessary to cover rising costs resulting from tighter restrictions on what can be dumped in the general trash compactors. ...more

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito