Annual Town Meeting: Save the date and view the Warrant (Updated)

by beth on February 25, 2019

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Above: The Town’s website reminds residents that ATM opens on a Saturday afternoon in less than a month. You can find more details on the schedule and the Warrant below. (from Town website)

A reader asked me to remind residents to mark their calendars for Annual Town Meeting. Since, it’s less than four weeks away, a reminder is in order. Plus, the Town posted the official Warrant, so we can now start referring to articles by their numbers.

For the first time, Annual Town Meeting will open on a Saturday. This year, that’s March 23rd at 1:00 pm.

(If Selectmen have their way, voters will change it to the last Saturday in March for next year.)*

[Editor’s Note: If you aren’t yet registered to vote in Southborough, you have until 8:00 pm on Saturday to take care of that. Click here for details on how to register.]

Under the rules voted in last spring, it’s set to break at 5:00 and resume at 7:00 pm. Town officials and voters are sure to hope to be done before the 11:00 pm end time. But, it’s possible the meeting it will be continued to Monday, March 25th at 7:00 pm. Until all Articles are resolved, the meeting continues on subsequent weeknights at the same time.

The good news is the initially 46 Article long draft Warrant has shrunk to 35 Articles. Part of that is from placeholders being pulled as not ready for prime time. But that’s also thanks to the consolidation of several Citizen Petition Articles.** 

Some of Warrant Articles are administrative issues that we can hope will be quickly resolved. Others are sure to spark debate.

  • 18 Articles are proposed by Town officials related to presentations, funding budgets and expenses, personnel/administrative issues, revolving funds and required authorizations.
  • 6 Articles are for Community Preservation Act appropriations – including annual administrative requirements and 3 new projects.
  • 9 Articles request changes to the Town Code – 4 requested by boards and 5 via Citizen Petitions.
  • 2 other Citizen Petition Articles are non-binding requests to pressure selectmen to take specified actions.

There is still some fine tuning going on for the budget and Capital Expenses. So, we’ll have to wait for the final report on that.

In the meantime, you can see the Warrant here, and the full list of Articles below:

1. To Hear Reports (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
2. Acceptance of Monies from Contributors (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
3. Borrowing Authorization (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
4. Authorizing Application of Bond Premiums to Capital Projects (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
5. Application of Bond Premiums to Capital Projects (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
6. Authorize Board of Selectmen and Supt. of Schools/Three Year Contracts (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
7. Amend the Personnel Salary Administration Plan (proposed by Personnel Board)
8. Establish Water Enterprise Fund (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
9. Funding Union Contracts (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
10. Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Transfers (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
11. Fiscal Year 2020 Budget (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
12. Fiscal Year 2020 Water Budget (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
13. General Government Capital Items (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
14. Payment to Retirees for Accrued Leave Time (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
15. Facilities Maintenance Fund (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
16. Amend Town Code – Revolving Funds (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
17. Annual Authorization of Revolving Fund Amounts (proposed by Board of Health, Board of Selectmen, Recreation Commission, and Conservation Commission)
18. Accept Deed of Conveyance for 0 Kimberly Lane
19. Appropriation from CPA Funds – Administrative (proposed by Community Preservation Committee)
20. Appropriation from CPA Funds – Debt Payment for Burnett House (proposed by Community Preservation Committee)
21. Appropriation from CPA Funds – Debt Payment for Halloran Property (proposed by Community Preservation Committee)
22. Appropriation from CPA Funds – Library Renovation/Restoration Project (proposed by Community Preservation Committee)
23. Appropriation from CPA Funds – Restoration/Preservation of Civil War Flag (proposed by Community Preservation Committee)
24. Appropriation from CPA Funds – Removal of Invasive Species (proposed by Community Preservation Committee)
25. Amend Town Code – Date and Time of Annual Town Meeting (proposed by Board of Selectmen)
26. Amend Town Code – Demolition Delay Hearing Process (proposed by Historical Commission)
27. Amend Town Code – Prohibition of Meetings on Election Day (proposed by Town Clerk)
28. Amend Town Code – Public Trees (proposed by Planning Board)
29. Citizen Petition – Amend Town Code: Electioneering (proposed by Karen Hanlon, et al.)
30. Citizen Petition – Establish Recreation Resources Committee (proposed by Jack Barron)
31. Citizen Petition – Amend Town Code: Attendance Records for Elected Boards (proposed by Michael Weishan, Peter Kahn, et al)
32. Citizen Petition – Amend Town Code: Advisory Committee (proposed by Karen Hanlon, et al.)
33. Citizen Petition – Amend Town Code: Town Counsel (proposed by Karen Hanlon, et al.)
34. Citizen Petition – Amend Town Code: Prohibited Conduct Policy (proposed by Karen Hanlon, et al.)
35. Citizen Petition – PILOT Agreements (proposed by Patricia Burns Fiore, et al.)

For more on 2019 Annual Town Meeting, you can read all of my related coverage here and materials posted by the Town here.

*Last year, the Article moved Annual Town Meeting to a Saturday in March – but specified that it would be a Town Meeting Week in March. That forced officials to choose the 2nd to last Saturday – which proved to be a challenge for the budgeting process.

**Initially, the four Citizen Petitions proposed by Karen Hanlon, et al. were split into ten separate Articles in the draft Warrant. (You can click here to read my past coverage of those.) In the official Warrant, they are now consolidated into the four topics they revolve around.

Updated (2/25/19 4:42 pm): I inserted that the Registration deadline for Town Meeting is March 2nd.

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