At the three hour annual town meeting (ATM) last night all but one article passed, with the adoption of the stretch code for buildings being the only article that was defeated. By my ear, I noted that article lost by about 60% to 40%. Defeat of that article prevents the town from becoming a Green Community under the Massachusetts Green Communities Act, and therefore claiming the $148,000 state DOER grant that we would have been awarded as a Green Community.
Leasing authority to the Board of Selectmen for lot 3 on Ice House Road passed by about 70% to 30%, again to my ears.
The 0.75% local option meals (about $100,000 per year for the town) tax passed, also to my ears, by a 70% to 30% margin.
Three articles were dismissed:
- Article 27 – Medfield Park & Recreation Commission seeking to have lot 3 transferred to them. MPRC now has its sights set upon land at the Medfield State Hospital site instead.
- Article 38 – seeking $80,000 to build out and create the Straw Hat Park was dismissed after the Warrant Committee recommended its dismissal due to other budget constraints this year.
- Article 39 – seeking to create a walking path from Wild Holly Lane to the Wheelock School was dismissed after the Conservation Commission’s agent raised questions about whether the proposed path was in wetlands.
All other articles passed by unanimous votes, including the following highlights:
- The town’s operating budget came in at $53,491,540.
- $500,000 of free cash was voted to be used to reduce property taxes.
- $6m. to build the new water tower and water mains to it at the former Medfield State Hospital site.
- $850,000 to complete design drawings for the new public safety building. It was the decision to pay for that cost out of the operating budget that made the budget tight this year. That public safety building is expected to cost about $19m.
With only two articles remaining, a gentleman stepped to a mike to question whether there was still a quorum. It was clear to anyone in the room that there were no longer 250 people in the Medfield High School gym at that point. If the man had invoked the magic words “quorum call,” the ATM would have had to grind to an early end, adjourn, and reconvene this evening if 250 residents would attend. Luckily the moderator first assured the man that it seemed to him that there were enough residents. Then the moderator effectively finessed the question, the man sat down, and then fifteen minutes later the ATM successfully concluded.