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Selectmen Take Positions on Special Town Meeting Articles

Monday night had the selectmen working their way through the eight special Town Meeting warrant articles, labeling a position for all but one.

The Selectmen took a big chunk of time Monday night to affirm their positions on seven of the

Article 1 - Land Acquisition – 51 Laws Brook Road

The Selectmen will recommend affirmative action to officials and voters. Selectman Greg Howes will provide a statement at Town Meeting detailing the board's choice in the matter.

Article 2 - Sale of Conservation Restriction – Former Landfill Site

The selectmen will recommend no action. Board members had some things to say about this position Monday night. “We did a lot of work on this, but there are still unanswered questions," said Selectman Jeff Wieand.

Howes added, “The timing of the issue has caused problems and it's not coming together as we expected.”

If the motion doesn't pass, the selectmen hope to keep the debate open throughout the year, explaining that it's not a lack of knowledge that has hampered them from voting for or against, but that there is just “still so much to be looked at in terms of making a deal happen,” according to Howes.

The board spoke about a need to bring all groups involved together. “This can represent multiple wins for the multiple parties involved, we just need more time to do that," Howes said.

The selectmen stated that creating a positive working path with the prospective buyer, the Walden Woods Project, was still in their sights. Weiand said, “Six months ago, all this was just wishful thinking. Now we've made real strides towards a solution of what to do with this land.”

According to the board, Walden Woods is still interested in working with the town to possibly purchase the conservation land even if the special Town Meeting article is shot down.

Article 3 - Retain Current School Transportation Department – By Petition and Article 4 - Citizen Committee to Study School Transportation – By Petition

The selectmen lumped Articles 3 and 4 together in their discussion. For both, the Selectmen again decided to take the position of no action. Some of the discussion that arose while debating the issue was the lack of a clear proposal in respects to budgetary concerns.

The selectmen said they don't have enough knowledge of the current busing system and if another is needed. The selectmen wanted to hear from the Finance Committee and School Committee on the issue.

“By taking no action, we don't want to say we support outsourcing our busing," said Howes, who will be making a statement at Town Meeting on the issue.

Selectman Carmen Reiss thought that the article was “putting the cart before the horse,” and reiterated that the article makes no mention of cost.

Article 5 - Re-Institute Comprehensive School Budget Information

Similar to articles 3 and 4, the selectmen want to hear from the Finance and School Committees, so decided to take the position of no action.

Article 6 - High School Debt Stabilization Fund Creation and Funding

The selectmen will recommend affirmative action to officials and voters. An as yet unspecified selectmen will provide a statement at Town Meeting detailing the board's choice in the matter.

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

The selectmen will recommend affirmative action to officials and voters. An unspecified selectmen will provide a statement at Town Meeting detailing the board's choice in the matter.

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

The Selectmen abstained from taking a position on this issue until after Tuesday night's Planning Board Meeting, at which time more information on the issue will be made available to them.

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