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What’s proposed in the Special Town Meeting Warrant?


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WESTFORD — Special Town Meeting is next month — with a number of Warrant articles up for consideration by voters.

The Warrant is still open at the time of reporting and is subject to change until it is finalized and closed by the Select Board.

Article 1: Approve Unpaid Bills from Previous Fiscal Year(s)

To see if the town will raise and appropriate, borrow or transfer funds to pay unpaid bills from prior fiscal years.

This article is slated to be dismissed ahead of Special Town Meeting. According to Finance Director Dan O’Donnell during a Sept. 12 Select Board meeting, the town has no unpaid bills at this time.

Article 2: Approve Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Adjustments

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, borrow, or transfer from available funds sums of money in order to adjust certain line items in the Fiscal Year 2024 Operating Budgets.

Article 3: Approve Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Transfers

To see if the town will vote to transfer funds between and among various accounts for FY 2024.

This article is slated to be dismissed ahead of Special Town Meeting. According O’Donnell, the town has no budget transfers as of Sept. 12.

Article 4: Appropriate Opioid Settlement Funds

To see if the town will raise and appropriate, borrow or transfer funds received from the Statewide Opioid Settlements.

Article 5: Approve Capital Appropriations 

To see if the town will raise and appropriate, borrow or transfer funds for the following capital requests:

  • $15,000 for compressor replacements for the HVAC system at the Department of Public Works garage.
  • TBD for Blanchard Middle School roof top units.
  • $150,000 for Stony Brook Bridge resident relocation and right of way.
  • $350,000 for Forge Village water treatment facility repairs.
  • $250,000 for the preliminary design of PFAS treatment facilities.

Article 6: Appropriate Funding for the Cameron Senior Center HVAC

To see if the town will vote to appropriate an additional sum of money for HVAC energy conservation and related building improvements for the Cameron Senior Center. This article would also authorize the Select Board to enter into a lease agreement for temporary space
for such price and on such terms as the Select Board deems appropriate.

Article 7: Reduce Amount Raised by Taxes in Fiscal Year 2024

To see if the Town will vote to take specific amounts from available funds and to direct the Assessor to reduce the net amount to be raised by taxation for Fiscal Year 2024.

Article 8: Rescind Authorized and Unissued Debt 

To see if the town will vote to rescind the following debt:

  • $901,750 for the Robinson and Day School window and door replacement.
  • $6,298 for the center fire station on Boston Road.
  • $686,442 for the Abbot School roof replacement.
  • $320,000 for the Vine Brook Road water distribution system.
  • $130,000 for the Kirsi Circle, Douglas Road and Anderson Lane water main replacement.
  • $110,000 for portable radios for school staff.
  • $23 for a fire truck.
  • $128,000 for the Pine Grove Cemetery enlargement.

Article 9: Approve Community Preservation Committee Recommendations 

To see if the town will vote and act on the report of the Community Preservation Committee and to appropriate the Community Preservation Fund for open space, historic resources, community housing purposes and outdoor recreation.

At the time of reporting, one application has been submitted by Ellen Harde for $1,450,000 to rehabilitate the 70 Boston Rd. property.

Article 10: Authorization for the Select Board to Petition the General Court for Special Legislation to Amend the Town’s Means Tested Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption Act

This article would authorize the Select Board to petition the state legislature for special legislation to amend language within Chapter 314 of the Acts of 2020 which allows the town to establish a means tested senior citizen tax exemption.

The Select Board aims to petition for clerical changes, including:

  • Removing the three-year limitation on the tax exemption. The town will no longer be able to offer this program after 2024 if the limitation is not removed.
  • Clarifying that the exemption would never constitute more than 50% of an individual’s property tax.

Article 11: Authorize the School Bus Transportation Contract for up to Five Years 

To see if the town will vote to authorize the School Committee to enter into a service agreement to provide student bus service for up to five years.

Article 12: Amend the Zoning Bylaw to Define and Regulate Firearm
Businesses and Related Terms

To see if the town will approve a proposed bylaw that could regulate future firearms businesses in Westford.

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Ben Domaingue
Ben Domainguehttps://www.clippings.me/bendomaingue
Ben Domaingue has previously worked at newspapers in New Hampshire and is the Managing Editor covering Westford. He’s passionate about community journalism, photography and hiking. Email him at bdomaingue@westfordcat.org.

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