LIVE UPDATES: Shrewsbury convenes for Special Town Meeting

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LIVE UPDATES: Shrewsbury convenes for Special Town Meeting
Select Board members review Town Meeting Warrant (Photo/Caroline Gordon)

Editor’s note: This article will be updated as Town Meeting approves the articles.

SHREWSBURY – Town officials held the Shrewsbury Town meeting tonight at Oak Middle School.

In total, there were 13 articles on the warrant.

Article 1 

Town Manager Kevin Mizikar presented Article 1, which asked the town to vote to amend the General Bylaws, in article 14, “Dog Control Law,” to change the holding period for unclaimed dogs from 10 days to seven days.

After the seven-day holding period, the town would give the dog to the Worcester Animal Rescue League to be put up for adoption.

Voters voiced concerns about the shorter holding period, noting that seven days is not enough time for an owner to claim their lost dog.

Ultimately, the article failed.

Article 2 

This article will raise the cost of handicapped parking fines by $200.

Residents will be charged $300 for a handicapped parking fine as opposed to the current fine of $100. The Commission on Disabilities would receive $200 out of the total fine and the rest would go toward local receipts.

Many voters voiced their support of the fine increase, noting it correlates with current inflation rates.

Specifically, voter Donny O’Connor said she believes the fine increase is a “great” idea and that residents “need to feel the bite” when they park in handicapped spots.

Article 2 was ultimately approved.

Article 3

Article 3 seeks to establish a $300 penalty for violating “The Town of Shrewsbury Tree Bylaw,” which was originally passed during Town Meeting last May.

Voters unanimously approved of Article 3.

Article 4

This article asked the town to raise and appropriate or transfer Treasury funds to amend various departmental appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2023 operating budget.

It was approved.

Article 5

Voters approved this article, which will raise and appropriate or transfer Treasury funds to the General Stabilization Account.

Article 6 

This article will raise and appropriate or transfer Treasury funds to cover firefighter physicals.

It was approved.

Article 7 

Mizikar presented this article, which would see if the town would raise and appropriate or transfer Treasury funds to replace a totaled police cruiser.

Voters approved of this article.

Article 8 

This article seeks the use of $33,500 for a Unified Dispatching and Operation Study.

According to Mizikar, thanks to the new police station, there is now enough space to hold a Unified Dispatching and Operation Study.

Article 8 was approved.

Article 9 

This article called for funding from the Treasury to pay for HVAC repairs and improvements at Floral Street School.

The current HVAC system heats the building with natural gas, which would be replaced with a heat pump system that is fully electric.

It was approved.

Article 10 

Voters approved this article, which seeks $100,000 from the Treasury to fund a Primary Table Address System.

According to Mizikar, the system will standardize address creation, automate information sharing and allow departments to efficiently track and maintain addresses.

“This project addresses internal challenges and inefficiencies for many town departments,” Mizikar said.

Article 11 

The lower portion of Prospect Park will now be utilized as a cemetery thanks to voters approving of this article.

Article 11 called for the town to raise and appropriate or transfer $200,000 in Treasury funds to fund the expansion of Mountain View Cemetery.

Article 12 

This article will allow the town to receive by gift three and a half acres of 32 Olde Colony Drive to be used for open space purposes.

It was approved.

Article 13 

This article seeks the use of $200,000 for a fee acquisition for a 5,200 square-acre vacant parcel along Chase Terrace.

“The vision of this parcel of land would be to enhance pedestrian connectivity and parking for the town center and the patrons thereof,” Mizikar said.

Though Mizikar said this would contribute to a “revitalized downtown,” this article ultimately failed with a standing vote of 53 ‘”yay” and 104 “nay.”