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TM voters set to tackle $18M budget  

Credit:  By George Barnes, TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF, www.telegram.com 4 May 2012 ~~

WESTMINSTER – Voters at the annual town meeting tomorrow will be asked to consider approving an $18 million fiscal 2013 budget, which would represent a 2.8 percent increase over the current fiscal year.

The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. in Westminster Elementary School. Voters will be asked to consider 45 regular town meeting articles and three special town meeting articles.

The town budget includes a request from the Oakmont Regional School District for about $9 million. Recommended amounts for the Police, Fire and Highway Departments are $1.5 million, $876,000 and $743,000, respectively.

Among the issues to be decided will be adoption of a bylaw to set regulations for installing experimental, residential and small-scale commercial wind energy facilities. The bylaw would limit height to 225 feet for small wind energy facilities.

Residential wind energy facilities would be limited to 35 feet above current grade.

The bylaw requires property setbacks for small wind facilities to three times the total height of the wind turbine. Residential wind turbines would require a setback of the height of the turbine plus 25 feet.

Voters will also be asked to approve $40,000 for road repairs, $175,500 for a new six-wheel dump truck for the Highway Department, $600,000 for water main and hydrant installation, $34,000 for a police cruiser, and $550,000 for a new fire engine.

Also on the warrant is a request for $250,000 to design a new senior citizens center. The town is looking at spending $2,226,000 on various projects and purchases of more than $20,000.

On the special town meeting warrant, voters will be asked to approve spending $10,000 to do a noise impact assessment study of the proposed railroad layover facility.

Voters will be asked to provide $5,000 for appraising town-owned items at the Forbush Memorial Library, $10,000 to buy town mapping services and $6,000 for copying maps as part of the town’s master plan update process.

The layover facility is proposed for Westminster Business Park on Batherick Road. The facility is part of $55 million in railroad upgrades that include expanding the commuter rail by 4.5 miles to a new Wachusett station, building the layover facility, and track improvements to support freight and passenger rail.

Concerns have been raised about possible noise problems and fumes from the layover facility affecting Crocker Pond and nearby homes.

Source:  By George Barnes, TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF, www.telegram.com 4 May 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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