Friday, March 12, 2010
May Town Meeting Warrant nears closure
The Board of Selectmen (BOS) will close the Town Meeting Warrant at its next meeting on March 23. The group reviewed the entire Warrant of 31 items at the March 9 meeting with Wayne Davis, town meeting moderator. In addition to the non-binding Warrant Article on the Community Preservation Act (CPA) (see article, page 1), the Selectmen discussed the following draft Warrant Articles:
• Article 15 – Borrowing Authorization – Minuteman Regional High School Feasibility Study. Camie Lamica, Director of Business and Operations at Minuteman appeared to request funding of a feasibility study to identify necessary building improvements to the school that was built 35 years ago. Carlisle’s portion of the $725,000 cost will be split with the 16 member towns based on the town’s enrollment at the school (currently 1.74%) and non-member fees (about 1/3 of the students currently at the school do not belong to the consortium.) Lamica noted that there is about $1,500 additional that the state will allow added to non-member student tuition that could help fund the project. All 16 member towns must approve the expense.
• Article 17 – Replacement of Fire Engine 6. Fire Chief David Flannery explained that the town must address replacing the department’s current four-wheel-drive vehicle purchased in 1985. He specified that the old engine did not have an adequate size pumper to move water long distances (estimated by Flannery to include 1/3 of Carlisle dwellings). Also the chief noted the current engine can only carry one fire-fighter and has the worst “turning radius” of vehicles in the department. Flannery hopes to sell the old vehicle, but added there is not much of a market for used fire equipment and called this one somewhat damaged by the “corrosive” town water.
Long-Term Capital Requirements Chair Don Rober noted that the replacement request dates back four years and was deferred last year to reduce financial pressure on the town. Rober rhetorically asked, “If we wait for a good time, when would that be – five or 10 years? We should do it when it’s appropriate.”
Article 19 – Professional Services – Planning Board. Planning Board Chairman David Freedman requested establishment of an account to cover consultant expenses with $5,000 this year and $5,000 next year. The budget for the board primarily covers salaries and the “bare minimum to purchase pencils” according to Freedman. To successfully plan ahead for the town, at times the board requires additional expertise. Although the group relies on volunteer knowledge, at times it must pay for outside expertise to adequately address an issue, often at the request of other town boards. Also, the planning board is finding it difficult to stay on top of the amount of state regulation changes. Rather than request authorization for every expenditure from the Selectmen, the board hopes to trim the process through establishment of a fund.
• Article 25 – Zoning Bylaw Site Plan Review. The Planning Board recommends moving some items out of the bylaws and into the rules and regulations to enable the Selectmen to waive items that are inapplicable and inappropriate for certain projects. The board made several suggestions to streamline the process including pre-application meetings and possible coordination of town boards. The Planning Board did request that the Selectmen formally add consideration of public health and safety issues during the construction process to their initial consideration of a project.
• Article 26 – Adoption of Stretch Code. Building Commissioner John Luther discussed a proposed Stretch Building Code which improves energy efficiency in buildings. The proposed local code was based on the state template for the stretch code, and modified to include Carlisle specificity. Luther noted that 25 towns are considering adoption of the code this spring. Cambridge, Springfield, Newton, and Tyngsboro have already adopted it. Luther noted that by the year 2013 the state code will incorporate the stretch code.
Selectman John Williams noted that possible impact to the Benfield development was still under consideration. Selectman Doug Stevenson advised against promoting adoption of the code as needed to designate Carlisle as a “green community” because there were other requirements that Carlisle would unlikely achieve including zoning changes to accommodate R&D and clean energy facilities. Chairman Tim Hult decided to keep the hearing open on this item to determine the Selectmen’s position on the item.
Running 45 minutes behind schedule and having recently received new information on the issue, the Selectmen decided to postpone discussion of Article 24, a zoning bylaw pertaining to the state’s redistricting of wetland and flood hazard areas, until their next meeting on March 23. The town must adopt the new state requirements by June 4 to qualify for future disaster relief such as the ice storm funds made available last winter.
BOS Chair Tim Hult expressed appreciation to the Finance Committee on developing an operating budget that would not require an override. ∆
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