Published in the April 29, 2016 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Annual Town Meeting gets underway on Monday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Galvin Middle School. There are 20 articles on the warrant. Any registered voter in the town of Wakefield is eligible to attend, speak and vote on each warrant article.
Article 1 relates to the Town’s $87,205,963 FY 2017 operating budget. Typically, each section of the budget is presented and voted separately.
The largest portion of Article 1 is the School
Department’s $36,266,170 budget. The $10,217,504 requested under Protection of Persons and
Property includes the Police and Fire department budgets. Voters will be asked to approve $2,292,208 for General Government.
Voters will also be asked to appropriate $15,705,963 for “Benefits and Administration,” which consists mainly of health insurance for town employees and retirees.
Other sections of Article 1 that will be voted include the Public Works budget ($5,521,310), the Water and Sewer budget ($12,116,493 from Water and Sewer receipts), the Beebe Library budget ($1,511,780), the Vocational School budget ($1,146,683) and the “Unclassified” budget ($1,614,086).
Under Article 2, voters will be asked to approve spending $2,095,323 on Capital Outlay. The Capital Outlay requests for FY 2017 include two new police cruisers, several new vehicles for the DPW and about $920,000 for repairs, upgrades and improvements to town-owned buildings. Other amounts under the Capital Outlay budget are dedicated to new and prior leases for IT equipment and vehicles.
Article 3 will ask voters to appropriate $4,252,004 for Debt Service Fund, which is used to pay the town’s existing debt in the form of bonds.
Article 4 relates to the “in lieu of taxes” payment to the town by the Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department of $865,000.
Article 5 will ask Town Meeting to approve the collective bargaining agreement between the Town and the Wakefield Municipal Administrative, Supervisory and Professional Employees’ Union for the period July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.
Under Article 6, voters will be asked to approve $100,000 from Free Cash for a study to determine what it would take to correct structural and other deficiencies at the Public Safety Building.
Article 7 seeks to appropriate $50,000 from Free Cash for a site study of the Walton School to look at space needs.
Under Article 8, Town Meeting will be asked to approve $10,000 to pay for the services of School Department Employees or independent contractors to obtain Medicaid reimbursement for certain special education costs and expenses incurred by the town.
Article 9 will ask voters to supplement the current (FY 2016) Fire Department budget in the amount of $200,000 due to an unusual amount of overtime incurred this year due to firefighter injuries, illnesses and retirements.
Article 10 requests $59,180 to supplement the Workers’ Compensation budget.
Article 11 is a routine annual article to appropriate $1 and authorize the the Board of Selectmen to accept or take by eminent domain, conveyances or easements as may be necessary to construct and maintain such infrastructure as water mains, drains, sewers, etc.
Voters will be asked under Article 12 to approve $1,515,000 for trash and recycling collection.
Under Article 13, Town Meeting will be asked to appropriate $100,000 to fund the federally mandated NPDES storm water program.
Article 14 will ask voters to appropriate $200,000 in town funds to supplement the Chapter 90 money that the state provides annually for roadway improvements.
Article 16 seeks to raise $50,000 for the construction of new sidewalks. The money will be targeted for areas used by children walking to and from school.
Under Article 17 voters will be asked to appropriate $250,000 from the water surplus account for upgrades to the Crystal Lake water treatment plant on Broadway.
Article 18 will ask voters to authorize the town to borrow $251,415 for a betterment project to do road improvements on Mount Pleasant Avenue and Everett Street. Since the streets are private ways, the residents of those streets will over time reimburse the town for the cost of the project.
Voters will be asked under Article 19 to approve a new schedule of fees for permits issued by the Building Department. Those fees have not been updated for many years.
Under Article 20, Town Meeting voters will be asked to change the zoning of a parcel of land at 592 North Ave. from the Single Residence District to the Business District.
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio expects Annual Town Meeting to complete its business in one night but should another session be needed, it will continue on Thursday, May 5.