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Info Session Lists Pros and Cons of Special Town Meeting Articles

In what boiled down to a pros and cons listing, the Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen led an information session for the public to learn more about the eight Special Town Meeting warrant articles.

Monday night, the Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen held a public hearing and information session for all residents interested in learning more about the eight warrant articles up for vote at the Special Town Meeting taking place April 24, the second day of 2012's annual Town Meeting.

The information session was led by various town officials from the FinCom and BOS, who gave bullet point pros and cons of every article and listened to public concerns.

Not familiar with the eight Special Town Meeting warrant articles? Click here for a rundown.

Here's a breakdown of some the pros and cons presented and discussed Monday night:

Article 1 – Sale of Conservation Restriction – Former Landfill Site

  • Pros: Would be sold to close town group, Walden Woods Project, for $2.8 million, which could be used to buy other land.
  • Cons: Loss of land and would require relocation of popular composting area and loss of solar energy generation site.

Article 2 – Land Acquisition – 51 Laws Brook Road

  • Pros: Land could be used to expand parking and recreational facilities at the adjacent . Could also be used for up to three to four new homes and/or for affordable housing.
  • Cons: Would costs $695,000 from the roughly $9.5 million in the town's Free Cash account, with additional costs coming later to fund a study to find out what best to do with land, which may include demolition of the current house on the land.

Article 3 – Retain Current School Transportation Department – By Petition

  • Pros: There would be no change over to a new system of school transportation and no new expenditures. The town has owned its school buses and operated a municipal-owned transportation department since 1957.
  • Cons: District administration recommended privitizing the municipal-owned transportation department following a transportation study, and keeping the system town-operated would, at minimum, require finding a home for the department which will have to relocate due to construction of a new Concord-Carlisle High School.

Article 4 – Citizen Committee to Study School Transportation – By Petition

  • Pros: Similar to Article 3, there would be no change to the current system, and a committee would form to help the school committee search for ways to maintain the town-operated transportation department.
  • Cons: Same as Article 3.

Article 5 – Reinstitute Comprehensive School Budget Information – By Petition

  • Pros: More information for parents and the public in order for them to be more involved in the school budgetary concerns and to get a better idea of how their taxes are being spent.
  • Cons: A heavier load for those that have to deliver the information to the public with no increase in pay for such work.

Article 6 – High School Debt Stabilization Fund Creation and Funding

  • Pros: Will set aside current reserves for future use by creating a safety net for future CCHS unforeseeable costs and debt. Will also help protect town's AAA credit rating.
  • Cons: Cost of $2 million from the roughly $9.5 million in Concord's Free Cash account.

Article 7 – Minuteman Career and Technical High School FY12 Supplemental Assessment

  • Pros: Improvements/upgrades to Minuteman, many already done in order to bring it up to code. Concord would be helping share the burden of the cost (5 percent) as residents from Concord are enrolled at this school. Lincoln already approved their portion of the funding.
  • Cons: Cost of $24,822 from the roughly $9.5 million in Concord's Free Cash account.

Article 8 – Zoning Bylaw Amendment – Limited Business District #7 – By Petition

  • Pros: Will update Zoning Bylaws to add Combined business/residence as a permitted use in Limited Business District #7, is located at 100 Main Street.
  • Cons: Limited work involved to officially change Bylaws.
Harry Beyer April 04, 2012 at 01:34 PM
This summary says that the "Cons" for Article 1 – "Sale of Conservation Restriction – Former Landfill Site" would include "loss of solar energy generation site." My understanding, however, is that only 2 acres of a potential 7-acre solar energy generating site would be lost. Will someone please clarify?
David Allen April 04, 2012 at 07:14 PM
In response to Harry Beyer's question, the sale of a conservation restriction for $2.8 million would leave 7 acres available for solar. However, other needs of the town would reduce that to 5 acres for solar. (A price of $3 million would eliminate solar completely.) OF SPECIAL NOTE: Five acres of solar, here, would produce in the ballpark of what the Article 64 project, from the 2010 Town Meeting, would have produced at the Waste Water Treatment Plant - in other words, a relative drop in the bucket ... Article 64 - to be clear about the history of these efforts by the group bringing this forward - failed. After more than two years, and going-on a thousand hours of town staff effort.

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