LIVE BLOG: Southborough Town Meeting – Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of Southborough’s Annual Town Meeting. On tap tonight are operational budgets, capital items, and more. I’ll be live blogging the action as long as my Internet access holds. Refresh your browser to follow along. Latest updates will be at the top.

10:05 pm: Article 23 passed, Article 24 (Swap Shop) indefinitely postponed. Motion to adjourn, and we’re done!

Check the blog tomorrow for more Town Meeting wrap up.

9:55 pm: Make sure those sump pumps are working. Town Meeting voted to allow the Fire Chief to assess a fee for people who rely too heavily on the department to pump out their basement instead of keeping their personal pumps in working order.

9:50 pm: After a standing-count vote, Article 20 passed, with 59 in favor and 43 opposed.

9:45 pm: Most controversial topic of the night (so far) is turning out to be the question of whether to spend $62K in CPA funds to map 300 parcels of deeded open space (Article 20). Board of Selectmen does not support, Advisory split. Lots of discussion on the floor.

9:18 pm: Article 15 to pave the roads in the Rural Cemetery has passed with little discussion. Articles 16 through 19 all approved or indefinitely postponed.

9:08 pm: We’re cruising now. Articles 9 through 14 have all been approved or indefinitely postponed. In approving Article 14 Voters set aside another $17K for the ongoing legal battle with Northborough over the Algonquin reimbursement. Rooney said the dispute will hopefully be resolved this year.

8:55 pm: Algonquin budget passes with little discussion and few voting in opposition. Selectman John Rooney cautioned voters need to “put the brakes” on school budget increases or face Proposition 2-1/2 overrides.

8:40 pm: K-8 school budget just passed by a wide margin with little discussion. Al Hamilton gave a presentation on his research and recommendations around declining school enrollment (you can see it here), but there was little discussion from the floor. Only a few hands raised in opposition.

We’re on to the Algonquin budget

8:22 pm: Superintendent Charles Gobron just gave a report on the budget. He addressed “three concerns that came up during the budget conversation” – how school performance is evaluated, teacher salaries, and declining enrollments.

8:08 pm: Board of Health budget passed after brief discussion about the Public Health Director’s salary. Employee Benefits budget was lowered because the increase in health insurance costs was less than projected, and then approved.

Now on to K-8 schools.

7:56 pm: Town Moderator David Coombs just read through the budgets. Both the K-8 and ARHS budgets were held, meaning they’ll be discussed further. Budgets for Board of Health and Employee Benefits were also held.

All other budgets, including police, fire, DPW, and library all passed without discussion.

7:44 pm: Quorum has been reached and we’re underway. First up is Article 8 – budgets.

7:26 pm: Residents are filtering in. The attendance tonight is considerably lower than it was last. Not unexpected for day 2, but I thought the promise of budget discussions might drive up the turnout.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sboro mom of 2
12 years ago

Thank you for live blogging again! So helpful for those of us who cannot be there.

I really hope we can make live streaming and electronic voting a reality someday soon. I hate not being able to be there but so it goes.

carrie alpert
12 years ago

So happy article 20 passed–there is hope for preservation and goodness– and once again the gentleman from the Board of Health has to explain (or rather justify to one person on Advisory) how and why he needs what he needs to keep our town safe from disease. Mind boggling.

Tim Martel
12 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

Carrie, I agree with you on both points. I’m thankful we have the Community Preservation Committee to champion these types of projects. And it was very puzzling why the Advisory gentleman singled out Dr. Fazen to explain his budget.

Sboro mom of 2
12 years ago

When an article is indefinitely postponed, does that mean the topic will not be discussed until next year – or does it mean it may never be discussed again?

Al Hamilton
12 years ago
Reply to  Sboro mom of 2

When an article is indefinitely postponed it normally means that it will not be discussed any more at the town meeting where it was postponed.

The topic can come up at future town but it would need to be brought as a new warrant article. The threshold for putting a an article on the warrant is pretty low.

The BOS can put an article on and call a special town meeting and by tradition permits articles from other committees to be placed on warrant pretty much as requested.

A citizen can place an article on the warrant of the Annual (Spring) Town Meeting by getting 10 signatures of registered voters. The Town Clerk has a form you can use.

A citizen can cause a special town meeting to be held by gathering 100 signatures for a warrant article. This is a few hours work at the transfer station.

In order to actually discuss a warrant article someone has to move the article on the floor of town meeting when it comes up and there must be a second. After that the article is debated.

Sboro mom of 2
12 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

Thanks, Al.

Tim Martel
12 years ago
Reply to  Sboro mom of 2

It just means its gone for that Town Meeting. It can be added to the warrant of a future Town Meeting per the normal processes (i.e. Selectman can add it, any citizen can add it with the proper number of signatures).

The Town Manager legislation will return (probably close to word-for-word), but split from the Selectman increase and also in Bylaw format. It can (and almost certainly will) be presented at the next Town Meeting (October), and if approved will go into effect.

The Selectman increase requires a Special Act, as only the State Legislature can approve that kind of change. It can (and almost certainly will) be presented at the next Town meeting. Again, probably close to word-for-word. If approved, it does not go immediately into effect but instead goes to the State Legislature. It will bounce around those chambers for some indeterminate amount of time and, if approved, will return to the town for a vote. Its possible it could be part of the 2013 election.

Sboro mom of 2
12 years ago

Good to know. Thanks, Tim.

  • © 2024 — All rights reserved.