Friday, March 28, 2003
CCHS renovations, stable licensing dropped from Warrant
At their meetings on March 18 and 25, the Carlisle Board of Selectmen finalized the 29 Warrant articles for the Spring Town Meeting, and two questions for the spring town ballot. Question 1 will ask the voters to fund an override of $189,429 for the high school operating budget. Question 2 will ask the voters to fund $150,000 in debt exclusion to begin a multi-year program to construct roadside pathways. The town's pedestrian and bike safety advisory committee developed and will coordinate the implementation of the pathway project, under the supervision of the selectmen.
It is normal for the number of Warrant articles to be whittled down as the finance committee and selectmen firm up the proposed budget, but three of this year's deleted articles merit note: those for transferring money from the stabilization fund, for the high school renovation and the stable license fee.
Town has $274K in free cash
The board of selectmen were happy that Carlisle has received written certification from the state for a free cash level of $274,174. Without certification the town has had to plan the budget assuming zero free cash. Upon hearing that free cash was available, the selectmen eliminated a Warrant article that would have authorized drawing from the stabilization fund for the FY04 operating budget. Traditionally, the stabilization fund has been used to fund large capital expenses.
CCHS renovation postponed
The Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) withdrew its request for a Warrant article for design funds to renovate the regional high school. RSC member Michael Fitzgerald said that the RSC plans to describe the school expansion project at Town Meeting this spring, but will wait until a later Town Meeting, perhaps in the fall, to request funding for design work.
Stable licensing article dropped
Board of health (BOH) chair Martha Bedrosian agreed with the selectmen that it made more sense to finish writing the regulations that will go along with the license, before setting a license fee of $40 for stables.
The main use of the fee would be to pay for the cost of inspecting the barns. At the moment there is very little cost, because the barn inspector, Sally Lakness, has been working on a volunteer basis. The selectmen were told that the BOH would like to pay Lakness a stipend, and along with that would ask her to begin conducting more thorough inspections. BOH agent Linda Fantasia said the state requires the inspections, and provides a check-list of requirements for structures used to house animals. Lakness has been inspecting some of the 80 or 90 barns in town by simply driving by unannounced and seeing if the premises appear neat and the animals clean and healthy. In place of a $40 license fee, the selectmen suggested the BOH charge a $40 fee for barn inspections. The BOH has the authority to set such a fee without Town Meeting approval.
As the Warrant was closed on March 25, the selectmen thanked the finance committee (FinCom) for their hard work in preparing the proposed FY04 budget. Selectman Tim Hult praised the "excellent leadership" of the FinCom chair, Larry Barton. Selectmen chair Doug Stevenson also thanked his colleagues for their efforts in "pulling together an agenda for the town."
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