Friday, December 10, 2004
Twenty-minute Town Meeting approves all requests
After an hour and a quarter wait to achieve a quorum, the Special Town Meeting on December 6 was concluded quickly as Article 3, requesting additional funding for the Carlisle School wastewater treatment plant, was not moved (see story this page).
A quorum of 150 is needed, and at 7 p.m. only about 79 residents had turned up. Inclement weather and the expectation of no vote on the wastewater facility may have kept many away. With encouragement from Town Moderator Tom Raftery, early attendees pulled out their cell phones and set to work dialing friends and neighbors. At 8:12 p.m. the quorum was reached, as the Town Clerk determined that 167 registered voters had checked in.
No action on wastewater plant
Christy Barbee, chair of the School Building Committee, explained the removal of Article 3. Bids for construction of the wastewater facility had come in "a half-million dollars more than expected." She spoke of "a benefit to going back and examining" what went wrong. Barbee concluded by addressing the Selectmen, "We respectfully ask that you not move the Article and give us some time."
Town Hall HVAC repairs approved
With the removal of Article 3, the most substantial business was Article 2, the request for a transfer of $142,000 from free cash for the "reconstruction, refurbishment and repair of the Town Hall HVAC system." Selectmen Chair Tim Hult explained the heat "stopped working for a period" last winter and a task force was formed to recommend improvements. After early indications that the repair might cost $350,000, a bid package was designed and the lowest bid came in at $129,000, to which a $13,000 contingency was added. The FinCom approved the fund transfer, noting there is currently $646,531 in free cash.
Alex Parker of the task force responded to a question from the floor regarding possible reimbursement from the original designers of the HVAC system. "There would be a very small chance of success . . .It's been a number of years," he said. A two-thirds vote was needed and easily obtained. After the Article was approved, Hult thanked the task force for "a good piece of work."
Historical survey funded by CPA
The Article 4 vote approved a transfer of $8,000 from the Community Preservation Act account to the Historical Preservation account to finance preparatory work on a historical and archeological survey of town buildings and sites. Once the preparation is completed, the follow-on survey is expected to cost between $17,000 to $20,000, according to David Chaffin, Chair of the Carlisle Historical Commission. He noted the survey will "identify property deserving of cataloging" including "a wealth of Native American sites" in town. The study will be available to all, including students, researchers, boards, realtors, and developers.
Selectman Doug Stevenson questioned if owners of historical properties will be "subject to additional regulatory processes" as a result of the survey, to which Chaffin responded, "No." A question regarding "whether we'll learn anything new spending $25,000 to $30,000" prompted Sarah Brophy, formerly of the Carlisle Historical Commission, to respond that a 1990 volunteer attempt to catalog town historical assets is "nowhere near what Mass. Historical [the Massachusetts Historical Commission] expects" and grant requests typically require information from a survey. The Community Preservation Committee recommended this transfer of funds. The FinCom took no position on the Article since the funds have already been collected through the CPA surcharge and there was no tax or budgetary impact.
The Article 1 vote approved fund transfers. The first applied a one-time state aid payment of $18,925 to the legal account to cover overages due to litigation and to provide assistance in negotiating the police contract. Other transfers moved interest not paid (due to delay of the wastewater treatment plant) to two accounts: $15,000 to the Town Administrators capital fund, and $4,816 to the salary of the treasurer/tax collector. These transfers will correct oversights in the preparation of the FY05 budget.
Since none of the appropriations voted by the Town Meeting will be require new raising new revenues or debt, the Town Election scheduled for December 13 has been cancelled.
© 2004 The