By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — It took the 101 voters gathered in the Galvin Middle School Auditorium on Monday evening exactly two and a half hours to complete action on the 18-article Annual Town Meeting warrant.
Articles 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 were deemed routine annual articles that never draw any discussion. They were grouped together under a “consent agenda,” and voted favorably. Article 3 was the annual funding for the town’s debt service. Article 4 involved accepting the Municipal Gas & Light Department’s payment of $945,000 payment in lieu of taxes. Article 5 was to approve $202,500 to supplement this year’s town budget. Article 6 provided $130,000 from Free Cash to indemnify police and firefighters injured in the line of duty. Article 7 was the annual eminent domain article.
Under Article 8, Town Meeting approved $2,292,046 for trash collection and recycling in FY 2023 with no discussion from the floor.
Voters approved $900,000 for repairs and improvements to the town’s drainage systems under Article 9. Since the action would involve borrowing, a two-thirds majority was required. The vote was unanimous.
Voters also authorized the town, under Article 10, to borrow $5 million to replace the Harts Hill water tank that was built in 1927. There was no discussion from the floor of Town Meeting and the vote was unanimous.
Under Article 11, voters approved $2 million in borrowing in order to install quad gates and other safety measures at the town’s railroad crossings. These measures will help ensure that Wakefield retains its status as a “Quiet Zone” (no train horns), Town Engineer William Renault explained. It will also help avoid closing crossings in the future. This vote was also unanimous.
Article 12 sought Town Meeting approval to implement a Tax Increment Financing Agreement between the Town and Nanoramic Laboratories regarding a property on Audubon Road. The economic incentive measure was approved with no discussion from the floor.
Under Article 13, voters authorized the continuation of a property tax abatement program for members of the National Guard or reservists serving on active duty in foreign countries. Director of Assessments Victor Santaniello discussed the program.
Article 14 sought $50,000 for a professional consultant to assist with the planned review and recodification of the town’s Zoning Bylaws. The article was approved with no discussion from the floor.
Under Article 15, Town Meeting voted to increase the maximum base amount upon which cost of living adjustments are calculated for retired town employees from $14,000 to $16,000.
Under Article 16, voters authorized the Retirement Board to increase the monthly benefit for survivors of retired town employees from $250 to $500. Retirement Board member Dan Sherman presented Articles 15 and 16.
At 9:33 p.m., a motion to dissolve the 2022 Annual Town Meeting was unanimously approved.