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Weekly Buzz | May Town Meeting Warrant Article Roundup, Part Deux
Also, a look at the week ahead.
There’s enough in the Warrant that I think it’s a good idea to continue my summaries here (with the help of Town Meeting and Ways & Means member, Doug Davison, who really does a great job of explaining things and answering all my crazy questions).
So, let’s do that and quickly summarize what’s on the calendar so far this week, and then we’ll take a breather.
Warrant Article Roundup, Part Deux
Once more, this is not an exhaustive explanation - just a quick summary of each article. These are the rest of the financial articles. Check out the backup and contact your precinct’s Town Meeting Members for more information!
Article 8 ($1,090,873) - Accept Chapter 90 funds from the state for infrastructure maintenance including paving.
Article 9 ($77,975) - MWRA I/I Debt Service this is to pay back loans from MWRA to help limit our inflow and infiltration problems with the sewer system. Ideally the only water in the sewer pipes would be sewage. Unfortunately sewer systems end up with inflow (water put there illegally - think sump pumps piped into a home's sewer line) and infiltration (water that gets in the system when ground water leaks in through cracks or old porous cement pipes). All of our sewage goes into a larger pipe in Woburn, and from there to Deer Island in the harbor. There is a meter at the Woburn line and we get charged for every gallon of water/sewage that crosses into Woburn. So we pay to treat storm water. The state requires we try to remediate I/I problems to limit stress on the system and to prevent waste. The MWRA offers a program where we borrow money at 0% interest, then they grant us 75% of the amount borrowed and we pay back the 25% over 10 years at 0%. This annual article pays that loan payment. (Thanks to Doug for that amazing explanation - I didn’t want to overwhelm y’all with words, but he’s just so good at explaining stuff I couldn’t not include them! Look for more of his explanations down below ⬇⬇⬇)
Article 10 ($6,271,100)- Annual article to pay the sewer bill
Article 11 ($952,243) - This is to pay for the MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resources Authority) connection, so we can be a part of that larger water provision resource.
Article 12 ($500,000) - This is a tricky one - because of PFAS in Burlington’s water supply, we were required to open the MWRA connection fully, earlier than expected. This water costs money, which we are asking to backfill the budget out of free cash. We are likely to get a grant from the state to offset some of this amount.
Article 13 ($3,500,000) - This is a biannual vote to fund paving. The number this year is more than in previous years, and we plan to use the excess to do some sidewalk paving, mostly filling in unpaved spaces between existing sidewalks this time around.
Article 14 ($1,100,000) - This is to fund the construction of the Partridge Lane sewage pump station. We are gradually replacing all of our pump stations (which number in the teens), and with each annual Town Meeting Warrant we request funds to design one (which we did with the Grandview Ave. station in article 7-3 this year) and to construct the one we designed last year. So last year we requested funds to design the Partridge Lane pump station and this year we are requesting the funds to construct it. Next year, then, we can anticipate a funds request to construct the Grandview Ave station and to design another one.
Article 15 ($585,000) - There’s a fee on each cable bill that then goes to fund community programming, so this article transfers those fees to BCAT because they provide our community programming.
Article 16 - Transfer from Receipts Reserved Account for Ambulance Services - I think this one has been withdrawn, and there’s no backup for it.
Articles 17 - 23 are union contracts - there is a Negotiated Settlements line in the budget that covers the difference between the current payroll and what it will likely be after new contracts are settled. That line also covers some vacation buy back from retirees and maybe some other stuff. So, once contracts are approved these will be transfers from one line to another and don't change the bottom line budget. None of them are settled yet. The money sits in this line until it is needed.
Article 24 ($TBD) - This is the most feel-good item each year, and just allows us to accept money from the will of Marshall Simonds to support the park. 😊 This year, the money will go toward the tree house (along with a $100,000 donation from the Gillingham family)!
Article 25 ($40,000) - We need to hire someone who can help us with coordination of affordable housing services, including state reporting and monitoring, etc. It looks like this will be paid for by an increase in demolition fees.
Article 26 ($40,000) - We are going to fund the entire 4th of July parade this year (we usually split the costs with local businesses) to get it going again.
Article 27 ($33,000) - The Historical Commission is requesting a shed to have behind West School before the big 225th anniversary in 2024. They could store some items there and also have some outdoor display items. The backup here is extensive and impressive!
Article 28 ($TBD) - 119 S. Bedford Street. The town would like to exercise its right of first refusal for the property at this address for the purpose of buying it and selling it as affordable housing.
Article 29 ($20,000) - To fund the Sculpture Park.
Article 30 (CPI Adjustment for Elderly) & 31 (Elderly and Disabled Taxation Aid Fund) - I’ve gotta be honest: the backup for this one wasn’t entirely helpful. With these articles, we’re just voting to accept some state statutes that I think help residents who are elderly and/or disabled. The backup was just a copy of the statute but it wasn’t clear from reading that what the impact of accepting it would be. I hope someone can help explain these, either or before or during Town Meeting!
Just one last note - at Town Meeting, with each Warrant Article, the Moderator will ask how each committee voted on each article. So, I know from my conversations with W&M members (and anyone who watches the meetings also knows) that some of these articles had more discussion than others. If there is a dissenting vote, they’ll usually explain what the discussion was about to give town meeting a more complete picture of the issue at hand.
The Week Ahead in Burlington
As with last week, I’m not going to go into agendas today since there’s so much up there ⬆️, so be sure to take a look at each Daily to see what’s on the menu.
Monday, May 2
6:00 PM - Burlington Youth and Family Services
Tuesday, May 3
2:00 PM - Board of Health Subcommittee
7:00 PM - Capital Budget Committee
7:30 PM - Board of Appeals
Wednesday, May 4
6:30 PM - Zoning Bylaw Review Committee
Thursday, May 5
6:00 PM - Town Meeting Members PCT 6 & 7
6-9 PM - Cinco de Mayo fundraiser at the Archer Hotel to benefit Skate for the 22 foundation
7:00 PM - Planning Board
Friday, May 6
Nothing quite yet!
Saturday, May 7
Spring Kickoff at Wildwood Park
Sunday, May 8
Nothing to see here yet…other than Mother’s Day, in case you need a reminder. Just consider that a part of my service to the community. 😂 💐
May 14 - Global Warming sculpture dedication
May 21 - Health Fair
May 28 - Womenade + Kidzfun event to benefit a local mom who is battling cancer
Have a great Sunday, and I’ll see you tomorrow!