Town meeting day 1: A recap

town-meeting-1Town meeting adjourned just after 11:00 pm tonight, and frankly I’m exhausted, so I’ll offer you a brief recap until I have the energy to write more.

The meeting got going around 7:15 pm. I don’t have much to compare it to, but it seemed like a decent turnout. We worked our way through articles 1 through 6 of the main warrant, plus all six articles on the special town meeting warrant. There were a few hot-button items that generated debate, but in the end most articles passed without modification.

The votes
Here’s how the votes played out:

  • Article 1, reports from committees and boards – PASSED
  • Article 2, accept donations from tax exempt organizations – PASSED
  • Article 3, short-term borrowing – PASSED
  • Article 4, report from the Capital Budget Planning Committee – INDEFINITELY POSTPONED
  • Article 5, salary administration plan – AMENDED (salary schedule modified to reflect 1% decrease in raises for town employees)
  • Article 6, operating budgets – PASSED (2 amendments failed)
  • Special Town Meeting articles 1 through 6 – ALL PASSED

The debate
The issues that got voters worked up all revolved around perceived inequities: how much non-profits like St. Mark’s and Fay do (or don’t) contribute to the town in lieu of property taxes, whether town employees should get raises when so many in the private sector are not, how much of the burden Southborough should carry for the Alognquin budget as compared to Northborough.

This last item – how to distribute the Algonquin budget between the towns – was easily the most heated. It’s a complicated topic, so I’ll give it more attention in a future post, but in essence the town had to decide whether to suck it up and pay an additional $200K to avoid a political mess and potential damage to the school district and our relationship with Northborough. And suck it up we did. The town approved the budget recommended by the Regional School Committee which includes the higher assessment.

The fun continues tomorrow
Town meeting resumes tomorrow at 7:30 pm at the Trottier auditorium. On the docket is another Algonquin assessment item (this time related to debt from the renovation), capital items for the DPW, police, fire, and schools, and a bunch of Community Preservation Act articles.

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