Last night, Southborough voters quickly passed 9 Articles on the Special Town Meeting Warrant. They then spent hours discussing, debating, and amending the 10th before finally passing a version of the Downtown District zoning bylaw.
The final vote to pass the bylaw was 73% approval by about 250 voters.
[Editor’s Note: I have since posted the Downtown District bylaw details with an update on Wednesday morning to include the final language approved. Click here for that coverage.]
In the meantime, I can share that Articles 1-9 were passed as intended by their proponents, including the pre-arranged plan to amend Article 3. A couple of clarification questions were asked, but none prompted debate.
If you hadn’t read about Articles 1-9, here’s my recap:
1. Amend Personnel Bylaw
Revised the Town’s Salary Administration plan to include an IT Specialist position that was included in the budget voters approved at Annual Town Meeting in May.
2. Amend Town Code — Select Board
Simply renamed “Board of Selectman” to “Select Board”
3. Amend FY2022 Budget
- Voters approved an amendment proposed by the Board of Health to remove their request in the Warrant to increase the budget for BOH staff. (Read about that here.)
- Reduced the MWRA Water assessment in the Water Enterprise Fund budget by $150K (Read about that here.)
4. Amend FY2022 Budget — Capital expenses
- $30K to for the Town’s ongoing work to determine what its long term municipal building needs are.
- $85K for IT Server replacements.
- Both expenses were charged to the Town’s Free Cash, not impacting tax increases to cover the year’s budget.
- (Read about all of that here.)
5. Traffic Study for HCV routes
- $25K was approved for a study of the routes big trucks (Heavy Commercial Vehicles) take through Town. The intent is to help determine the routes HCV should be encouraged/prevented from taking. It’s a step selectmen want to take before applying to the state for a HCV exclusion for Flagg Road which could require them to request lifting the current HCV exclusion on Main Street. (Read about that here.)
- As with Article 4, this expense was charged to Free Cash, not adding to the tax burden for this year. (Read about taxes vs Free Cash here.)
6. Amend Town Code — Advisory membership
Amended the charge to lower the number of members to seven (the current number of members), add a Vice Chair, and rename “Chairman” as “Chair”.
7. Amend Town Code — Notice of Town Meetings
This clarifies the required notice for posting a Special Town Meeting Warrant as 14 days in advance. (It’s the same as the notice for Annual Town Meeting.)
8. Amend Town Code — Location of Town Meeting
This allows official to site Town Meetings in a “town contiguous to Southborough”. It is meant to provide options if needed in an emergency situation.
9. Amend Town Code — Availability of Annual Report
Corrected conflicting language in the Town Code about making the Town Meeting materials available to the public.
Updated (11/3/21 9:20 am): Initially, I wrote that I was waiting for some details to be confirmed before posting the language approved for the Downtown District bylaw. Since then, I was able to cover those details here.]