The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 4, 2007


Town approves $361,715 in CPA-funded projects

The last Article at Town Meeting on April 30 sparked the most discussion, as voters rejected one (Veterans Honor Roll) and approved four proposals to spend monies collected under the Community Preservation Act (CPA). A proposal, motion 6, to assess the condition of the statue in the rotary was not moved. To date the source of Carlisle's CPA funds has come in equal parts from a 2% real estate tax surcharge and from matching state grants.

The crowd at Town Meeting delivers an affirmative vote on all but one motion.
The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) recommended five projects to Town Meeting. Town Meeting could accept or reject recommended projects or reduce the proposed funding for a project, but it could not increase the funding or substitute any other projects. The money from rejected projects remains in the ongoing Community Preservation Fund (CPF).

The increased murmuring and comment on Article 17 prompted moderator Tom Raftery to say, "And you thought this was going to be another boring Town Meeting."

Motion 1 - Bookkeeping

CPC Chair Kelly Stringham presented this routine motion to assign FY08 CPF estimated revenues to an array of CPF accounts. The motion passed.

Motion 2 - ConsCom signs

Warren Lyman of the Land Stewardship Committee discussed the requested appropriation of $11,715 for the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) to replace or install signs on 28 of the 30 conservation parcels in town. The intent is to identify each of the parcels and to give notice of what activities are permitted or not permitted. Lyman explained that such notices will facilitate ConsCom and Police enforcement. This motion passed.

Motion 3 - Greenough Cottage

Selectman Alan Carpenito discussed the requested $25,000 to demolish the cottage on the Greenough Conservation Land to restore open space. He said, "The house is a liability and contains hazardous material (asbestos in the basement and lead paint)." This motion passed.

Motion 4 - COA survey

Bert Williams, Council on Aging board member, discussed the $25,000 appropriation request for a "needs assessment survey of the recreational needs of the senior population." He gave statistics on the growth of this segment of the population.

From the audience Alan Lehotsky (West Street) suggested that amending the motion to eliminate "recreational" from the wording could permit the survey to include housing issues. The suggestion was stifled by the Moderator, "I have looked at the CPC legislation — there are only three things you can do with a CPA recommendation: You can approve it. You can disapprove it. Or you can approve the money without it being used for the purpose.A member of the Town Meeting cannot amend it."

Carol Ducette (Ember Lane) asked, "Why does it take $25,000 to do a survey?" Williams reiterated that they wanted a professionally conducted survey so that reliable data would be obtained.

Nancy Pierce (Westford Street) had doubts that CPA money could be spent for this topic. Stringham responded, "Looking at what other towns have approved (we feel that) spending for this purpose is appropriate. As a committee we were reluctant to approve a survey, but to really move ahead on this topic and especially with the addition of liaison with the Board of Selectmen and someone from CPC, we were sure this would be a useful survey." Raftery offered, "I understand that all of the Articles on the Warrant had been passed by Town Counsel, and the ultimate determination is by the Attorney General."

Williams urged passage followed by active engagement by the public, "You here and those watching at home have one additional duty when contacted — complete the survey. Tell us what you want us to do for you." The motion passed.

Motion 5 - Veterans Honor Roll

John Lee, Town Common Committee member, and Historic Commission Chair Sylvia Sillers spoke in support of the motion to appropriate $22,000 to restore the Town Common Honor Roll. Also included were some slight relocation, re-grading and landscape plantings on the Common.

The Selectmen did not support this motion; Doug Stevenson and Alan Carpenito expressed the opinion that they would like to see a "more permanent" memorial — something in stone.

Library director Angela Mollet helps televise the Town Meeting for CCTV.
Rev. Tim Jensen as Chair of the Town Center Committee said that he and the committee were the originators of the request. "Our original plan included stone benches, a retaining wall and a post and chain fence. We got kick-back from the Historic Commission so we eliminated the new and extraneous elements. Then we got kick-back from the Selectmen who want a granite monument. It is like we are in the middle of a 'food fight' between the Selectmen and the Historic Commission." He articulated a truism of Town Meetings: "This is the smallest appropriation that I've seen this night. That is probably why this discussion is so animated." Someone (in a stage whisper) said, "We can understand $22,000." Jensen continued, "Moving forward with this motion doesn't mean that a granite monument couldn't be done at some later time."

Jane Anderson, of Baldwin Road, suggested that more should be done about utility poles and grading to improve parking and traffic visibility along roads at the Common before spending money on this project.

At variance with the rules of a familiar children's game, the Historic Commission's paper (and wood) did not beat the Selectmen's rock. The motion required a majority vote and was defeated 174 to 116. There will be no action to preserve the Honor Roll with CPA funds at this time.

Motion 6 - Liberty statue

Appropriation of $2,000 for a preservation assessment of the Soldier's Monument/Goddess of Liberty was withdrawn and was not moved by the Community Preservation Committee.

When approached after the Meeting, CPC Chair Kelly Stringham said, "There wasn't a good estimate on cost. What number they (the Historical Commission) did have for Town Meeting was higher than $2,000. We will have to wait for better information."

Motion 7 - Pathways

This motion was to transfer $300,000 from the Community Undesignated Fund to enable the Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, with the approval of the Selectmen, to create pathways under the Footpath Plan. The intent is to "return Carlisle to a walkable community."

Jack O'Connor mans the sound system at Town Meeting.
Representing the committee, Deb Belanger and John Bakewell gave a presentation on details of the plan and offered justification for the more expensive "chipseal" on asphalt surface rather than gravel or plain asphalt.

Selectman Tim Hult and Police Chief John Sullivan spoke in favor of the motion as enhancing safety, stating that statistics bear out the fact that traffic slows when there is a walkway at the side of the road.

John Foster, of Nathan Lane, suggested this is a "gold-plated" solution, and said, "This gives us an opportunity to look at our priorities." As a rural town he suggested we should add a bike lane to Route 225 where we do have heavy traffic.

George Bishop, of Judy Farm Road, spoke in favor and said, "Yes, it costs some money but it should last. Walking is good for people and good for the planet."

Ralph Anderson, Assistant Moderator in the cafeteria annex to the Town Meeting, opposed the expense, "We need the money for other things. The pathways were presented as an experiment and were going to be low cost and highly effective. They are neither. Asphalt does not drain like stone dust. In the wintertime someone is going to have to maintain them. This is a cost we will have to face in the future if we approve this. I suggest we send them (the committee) back for a lower cost proposal."

Nancy Weiss, of Brook Street, favored blacktop as improving handicapped accessibility. She said, "We have blacktop all over town. We have to have a balance with usability for all of our citizens and for maintainability and whether that is going to override historical acceptability. It is right next to a blacktop road — it is not a dirt road."

In response Belanger agreed that when dry, those using wheeled vehicles prefer blacktop but said when wet the chipseal is better.

The Moderator called for a vote and the motion passed.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito