Town Meeting 2018: Babysitting available; Article forums – video and reminders

by beth on April 4, 2018

Town Meeting - babysitting Southboorugh Rec flyerThe Recreation Department announced that it will offer free babysitting during Monday night’s Annual Town Meeting. Registration is requested (to help them plan) but not required. 

To sign up to use the service – or to volunteer as a babysitter (for community service hours) – email dferguson@southboroughma.com.

As long as I’m updating you on Town Meeting – it’s a good time to share a related video.

Southborough Access Media captured the forum held by the Recreation Commission last week on their Town Meeting Warrant Articles:

If watching the video raises any new questions for you – you can follow up on those tonight. Recreation is holding a second forum at the Southborough Library tonight, April 4th at 7:00 pm.

As I posted yesterday, the Library is hosting another ATM forum the next night. Golf Course articles will be the focus of Thursday, April 5th’s forum put on by the Save Our Heritage group at 7:00 pm.

1 Concerned Voter April 5, 2018 at 5:28 AM

Last year’s three day town meeting had a number of Recreation warrants, including one for lights. I think the number was $400,000, a lot of money. Later in the year, there was some issue about lights not plugging in. This was discovered by accident by a resident driving by noticing generators — why are generators being used. However, that illuminates much larger questions regarding how and why this happened and the lack of due diligence. Who / what contractor was paid this amount of money — who got the check? What was the total cost of the project, including the remedies? Why did the taxpaying public not learn of this through Recreation and/or BOS at some public meeting? How does this procurement and implementation alleged mis-step be prevented in the future.

Seems to me that Recreation comes with its hand out for enormous amounts of money at the expense of other equally important capital needs, many of which go unaddressed. Why should the taxpayers green light more spending, with little adequate addressing and owning up to the lights (and 9/11 Field — turf — who was the contractor on that one and how much was that outfit paid — how much was the fix — same questions) fiasco? Proper management and procurement processes need to be in place first. When problems arose, there should have been an owning up to what happened, transparency and an owning up to the problems and cost to cure — not an accidental find by a resident driving by.

The total cost to taxpayers on last year’s items seems to be missing from the discussion. The other missing piece is simply an explanation on who walked away with these payments and why wasn’t the cost to cure included? Didn’t the vendors have some responsibility on these matters?

Also, why is this Committee having multiple sessions using town resources before Town Meeting? Town Meeting floor is where these matters get discussed by the voters. One can understand the need to streamline, but this feels a bit force fed. One presentation should be enough. Is equal time being given to other projects and committees by posting their sessions and videos? Two times for Recreation?

Just one opinion. Thanks.

2 beth April 5, 2018 at 8:17 AM

I’m not sure what resources you are worried are being used up. And I’m sure that any group that wishes to hold a forum can. I have never heard of Article proponents trying to hold a forum and being denied. Not everyone chooses to do it.

As for the two for Rec, I can share that I know the Recreation Commission planned and announced the forum at the Senior Center. They were then approached by the Library with the offer to hold a second. The Library administration likes to host forums on topics that are of great interest to residents.

The Recreation Commission strongly believes in their Articles, as do many proponents of youth sports. But a lots of residents have many questions and concerns (like yours). So holding advance forums to make their case, answer questions, and learn more about residents’ concerns before this goes to Town Meeting floor makes sense.

Rec will be better prepared to include in their presentation answers to questions they know would be raised. And many concerned voters will go in better informed.

I anticipate a lively debate on their Articles on Monday night – but hopefully it will be a shorter one than if they didn’t hold forums. And the shorter it is, the more voters are likely to stick around to participate in decisions on Articles that follow. So, I see that as a good thing.

3 Concerned Voter April 5, 2018 at 6:58 PM

The focus needs to stay on questions about monies already funded—but major problems thereafter–with the public learning about it from this source(?!). Many voters first learned about this from My S.B. — and thank you for that!

This issue is one of procurement process and management, as well as informing the public on exactly that: monies were voted approved — but then lights were purchased that did not plug in(?) — then generators were installed (?) — and the cost to remedy this situation is added to the original purchase price. And what happened to the vendor’s responsibility in all of this. Would be great to get some answers.

Thanks again.

4 Jo d April 10, 2018 at 8:45 AM

I went to town meeting last night. If we based our opinions of the demographic of Southborough based on this meeting, one would believe that half of the town is retired. If parents want fields for their kids, it is time to show up for the meetings like this. There are some very vocal seniors that don’t want to spend more money on fields for your kids, or anything else really.
I know that town meeting is long and boring, but it is how this town runs. If you want to have your voice heard, show up! If twenty more parents were there last night Kallander field would have had the repairs that it needs.
The recreation department even offered babysitting, what is your excuse?

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