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Wareham Town Meeting voters get 2 chances to OK roof repair  

There’s also an article that would allow the town to purchase wind-generated power from other communities. It would not allow turbines to be built in Wareham, [Town Administrator Derek] Sullivan said.

Credit:  Wicked Local Wareham | Oct 16, 2012 | www.wickedlocal.com ~~

WAREHAM – Town Meeting voters will have two opportunities to OK the leaky high school gym roof’s $110,000 repair when Fall Town Meeting convenes Monday, Oct. 22.

Article 3 includes the funding as part of the town’s $350,000 capital funding plan for the new fiscal year, while Article 7 also provides for the work, according to information provided at Town Moderator Claire Smith’s annual pre-Town Meeting Thursday night, Oct. 4.

If it’s approved in the first go-round, Article 7 will not be voted. Officials said chances are it would be cheaper to OK it as part of the capital funding plan, because it would allow the town to borrow at a better rate on a larger sum.

Approval will allow the town to borrow money to effect the plan.

Smith said she would move each item on the plan separately to allow voters to pick and choose what should be funded. The Town Planning Committee devises and prioritizes the list.

Along with the roof repair, items include $25,000 for town Internet upgrades; $46,000 for three used vehicles for the Board of Health, Municipal Maintenance and the Assessors; $55,000 for a school bus; $47,000 to repair windows and doors at the Wareham Free Library; $41,500 to purchase 20 defibrillators for the Wareham Police Department; and $21,000 to upgrade security at Town Hall.

Voters will also be asked to OK a transfer of McKinney-Vento Homeless Act money so that it can be tapped for new school buses to supplement the district’s aging fleet. School officials estimate that $125,000 will be available through McKinney-Vento. The Act requires municipalities to transport relocated homeless children back to their home districts.

If a homeless Springfield child is relocated to housing in Wareham, the district would be obligated to provide the child with transportation to that school district, interim Town Administrator Derek Sullivan said, by way of example.

Sullivan said participating towns are eligible for reimbursement because it’s been determined that the Act amounted to an “unfunded mandate.”

He said the only problem with the found money is that it might not be certified by the state in time to allow the town to set its tax rate. That might necessitate waiting until Spring Town Meeting to OK its use.

Voters will also be asked to OK $30,000 to survey Onset Pier’s upkeep needs, as well as $15,000 to fund the purchase of four defibrillators for the town’s EMS services as part of a matching Homeland Security Grant that will pay 10 times that amount toward their acquisition. These defibrillators, which are “much different units, as you can judge by the price,” from those being requested by the Police Department, Sullivan said, will eventually become mandatory in the state. If the town doesn’t get the grant, or if voters balk, the town will eventually have to pick up the entire amount, Sullivan said.

Voters will also be asked to OK $3,000 to keep the recycling center going. It’s been under-funded for several years, Sullivan said.

There’s also an article that would allow the town to purchase wind-generated power from other communities. It would not allow turbines to be built in Wareham, Sullivan said.

Another article would allow the town to buy solar energy from a plant proposed in Plymouth. And there’s a separate article that would allow a solar “farm’s” development at the town’s wastewater treatment plant property.

There’s also an article to appropriate $50,000 from the Community Preservation Fund for historic preservation work on the old town offices, at 505 Main St., currently housing WCTV.

Tax Increment Financing Articles would trade tax concessions to the T. Marzetti Co. to pave the way for its expansion in town, bringing investment dollars into Wareham as well as 25 new jobs, Sullivan said. He said 10 jobs from its New Bedford operation, which would be closed, would also come to Wareham. The concession would be half off new taxes generated by improvements to the specialty food company’s facility. The remaining half would still be new revenue to the town, Sullivan said. The proposal has been OK’d by the Finance Committee.

Voters will also be asked to approve transferring control of the Hammond School building to Wareham’s Community and Economic Development Authority to be converted into an adult job-training site. The school was closed prior to the start of this school year to help balance the district budget.

There’s also an article to revamp waterway regulations, as well as an article that would facilitate the transfer of dangerous-dog-hearing duties back to the selectmen from the Police Department. Sullivan said police have other, more pressing duties to perform.

And there’s an article that would facilitate the creation of an elected board of sewer commissions. Currently, the selectmen serve as ex officio sewer commissioners.

Smith thanked those attending the pre-Town Meeting, adding, “We are the people who perform the business of the town when we come to Town Meeting.”

Source:  Wicked Local Wareham | Oct 16, 2012 | www.wickedlocal.com

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