Tewksbury voters will gather on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. to vote on a number of articles, and last night the Select Board gave initial feedback on the warrant in advance of the Finance Committee’s review on August 31.
Note that residents have until 4:30 on Friday to submit additional articles.
A few notable items:
The town will vote on whether to raise the salaries of the town moderator as well as Board of Health and Planning Board members. Under the article proposed by town manager Richard Montuori in response to a request for action from Select Board member Jay Kelly:
> The moderator’s salary would go from $450 to $1,000.
> The chair of the Board of Health would receive $1,500, more than triple his current $405 pay. BoH members’ pay would increase from $450 to $1,000.
> The chair of the Planning Board would now earn $2,000, up from $1,080, while members would receive $1,500, up from $765.
The article would also roll back a 10% cut made to all elected official salaries in 2009, giving these boards and the Select Board and School Committee a bump.
Residents may recall that Kelly said the impetus for him to examine salaries was the reduction of terms for newly elected Planning Board members from five years to three, voted on at 2022 October Town Meeting.
“So in lieu of that vote, I took a hard look at these numbers, not realizing, wait a minute, the board of health makes $405 a year, the planning board $765,” he said at the time. “There’s a huge discrepancy among dollars across our different boards.”
Board member Mark Kratman pointed out at last night’s working session that residents were also concerned with the pay for the BoH given the work done during Covid.
The funds to bring the moderator, Planning Board and BoH more in line with other boards are available since state and local revenue will be higher than projected, said Montuori.
The town will move to fund a second ambulance, four new police officers, other police and fire outlays and road and sidewalk work within the regular budget versus ad hoc outlays.
Line items include $25,600 for Tewksbury Fire Department gear and about $114,000 for improved accounting software and IT services for the town.
There are also some capital outlays, including a new vehicle for animal control and upgrades and maintenance for the police station. Montuori said older vehicles that are unneeded will be traded in. Kratman asked about whether newly purchased vehicles will be able to be stored inside.
No word on whether the new animal control SUV will fit a black bear.
Speaking of adequate vehicle storage, voters will be asked to push the new combined DPW/Tewksbury Public Schools maintenance facility over the finish line by authorizing an expenditure of $26.5 million. There will be no debt exclusion required for the project, meaning that it will be funded within the budget and not result in a bump in resident’s tax bills. Town meeting has already voted to invest several million dollars in project planning and design work.
The town still plans to seek grants based on green features, such as a solar-ready roof, rainwater harvesting and improved insulation. Residents can check out the proposal here.
Retail marijuana will be a reality in Tewksbury if voters approve General and Zoning bylaw updates as outlined previously by assistant town manager Steve Sadwick.
Tewksbury could have two or three retail locations, according to Sadwick, in three allowable zones — General Business, South Village and Industrial.
Finally, voters will be asked to mandate under the Zoning Bylaw that new multifamily developments install the infrastructure to accommodate charging stations for electric vehicles.
To take part in Special Town Meeting, you must be registered to vote by mid-September. Learn more about how it all works.
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