By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
SHREWSBURY – Town Manager Kevin Mizikar reviewed Shrewsbury’s 42 article Town Meeting warrant with the Board of Selectmen at their April 13 meeting.
This is the town’s second Annual Town Meeting to be held under the COVID-19 state of emergency declared by Governor Baker, which enables flexibility regarding the meeting’s date and location. Quorum has been reduced to 100 elected members.
Override outcome influences budget
Articles three, four and five pertain to the fiscal year (FY) 2022 operating budget and were contingent on Shrewsbury’s now successful passage of the May 4 $9.5 million Proposition 2 ½ override Ballot Question. Articles three and four establish and fund a stabilization account per Ballot Question conditions, and Article five is the operational budget itself.
“We’ve presented several models based on a planned yes vote or a no result, and we’ll be ready to have clear recommendations and details available at Town Meeting for further adoption,” Mizkar said, speaking several weeks before voters headed to the polls.
In addition to appropriations for FY 2022, the warrant includes funding for utility enterprise funds and capital budgets, revolving and stabilization accounts, managing town bylaws and considering citizens petitions.
Town seeks to address utility, capital needs
Provisions for allocating funding for sewer system operations and solid waste collection, as well as the creation of a Sewer Capital Budget are included in Articles 10, 11 and 12, respectively.
Likewise, Articles 13 through 16 pertain to operations of the Water System Enterprise.
Town Meeting will consider a $2,000,000 general Capital Improvement Plan in Article 17.
State transportation aid to be presented
Chapter 90 local transportation aid in the amount of $99,636,00 will be presented to the town for acceptance in Article 21.
Tax savings up for discussion
Articles 23 and 24, if adopted, will rescind excess borrowing from the tax levy. Those are dollars that the town did not expend in its various capital projects.
This year, approximately $3,000,000 from the Shrewsbury Public Library and $2,000,000 from the Water Treatment Plant could be rescinded, for a total of roughly $5,000,000 in savings for taxpayers.
Town Meeting to eye bylaw changes
Article 28 amends the bylaw governing Town Meeting to make changes with more flexibility for the time and date of meetings.
Article 29 seeks to create a Community Preservation Committee as required by the Community Preservation Act, which the town adopted at the November 2020 general election.
A series of bylaws contained in Articles 30 through 33 include the creation of an Affordable Housing Bylaw and amendments to bylaws that are housekeeping in nature.
Citizen petitions to appear on warrant
There are three citizen petitions, articles 34, 35 and 36. Article 34 pertains to climate change. Article 35 aims to limit Board of Selectmen and School Committee terms to 12 consecutive years in office, while Article 36 opposes fluoride in Shrewsbury’s water.
Other articles address easements, other topics
Article 39 seeks to acquire easements along the Route 20 Corridor at Purinton Street. This includes the ability for the town to take temporary or permanent easements as needed, primarily for construction purposes.
Rounding out the warrant are annual funding articles for the Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services and the Lake Quinsigamond Commission.
For further Town Meeting information, visit https://www.shrewsburyma.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=4785.
Annual Town Meeting (ATM) is scheduled Saturday, May 22, 8:30 a.m. in the Fieldhouse at Shrewsbury High School, 64 Holden St.