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Finance Committee Unanimously Approves Fiscal Articles, Firms Up Warrants

The Tewksbury Finance Committee met last night in a public meeting to review the warrants for the Annual and Special Town Meetings, which will be held on May 2 at 7:30 p.m. and May 4 at 7 p.m., respectively, at Tewksbury Memorial High School.

Annual Town Meeting articles covered the fiscal year 2023 budget as well as a variety of other expenditures, including funding for the proposed DPW/school maintenance facility, upgrades to the skateboard park at Livingston St., the purchase of new bleachers and benches and budgets for the town’s various enterprise funds.

Town manager Richard Montuori walked the Committee through the articles, noting in particular that “we can’t not do anything” to address the deteriorating DPW facility and that if the project is not approved at Town Meeting, the funds already allocated will be used to make the most-needed repairs.

The Finance Committee unanimously recommended adoption of Articles 2 through 23.

The Committee also heard from assistant town manager Steve Sadwick about Articles 29 and 30, the proposed new Zoning Bylaw. The Planning Board meets on April 11 for two votes needed to allow the Bylaw to move forward.

Finance Committee member Richard Levasseur asked Sadwick about the main areas addressed by the Bylaw Committee to help ensure the proposal will pass, given that it failed by two votes in October.

Sadwick stated that fee in lieu of affordable units was a major roadblock for voters.

“It feeds into the whole 40B issue,” he said. “When there are units that are supposed to be affordable and the town takes the money instead, we end up creating a large bank account, and the units aren’t being put on the books. We’re not developers, so that puts us at a deficit when it comes to the subsidized housing inventory.”

The Committee voted unanimously to defer its recommendation until after the Planning Board votes.

Two citizen articles have also been put forward for Annual Town Meeting.

Article 24, submitted by Laura Caplan, seeks to amend the Town’s General Bylaws to ban overnight street parking by recreational vehicles. The Committee voted to make no recommendation.

Article 31, submitted by Andrea Jeffrey, seeks to change the zoning district classification of approximately 10 acres in the area of Maple St., near Strongwater Farm, from single family to MFD (multi-family dwelling). Sadwick says that the combined lots could accommodate approximately 77 units.

The Committee voted to defer to the Planning Board on Article 31.

Special Town Meeting

Voters will address only three articles at STM, to move $576,000 from accounts with surpluses to those running deficits, to cover excess funds expended for snow and ice removal and to authorize payments of some $2,861 in miscellaneous bills.

The Finance Committee unanimously recommended adoption of all three articles.

Lorna is a 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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