Town Meeting ’13, Session 4
I take notes during Town Meeting. They are not official in any way. As I listen to people speak, I type notes. I’m sure that, at times, I mishear or misunderstand the speaker, but my notes represent what I hear at the time. I try to publish the notes every night after the meeting, as time allows. I do go back and make a few edits as errors are pointed out to me. I do not try to reproduce my entire notes for this online version. Sometimes I relay a quote from a specific speaker. Most of the time I only summarize the discussion. At points I give a purely personal opinion; those are clearly labeled like this: Personal note.
Jane Howard led the meeting in the national anthem.
Moderator John Leone announced that all precincts should have organized – elected chairs and clerks.
We will return on Monday May 6. That will hopefully be the last night of this year’s Town Meeting!
- Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine reported on the compensation study, and provided a memo.
- Town Manager asked everyone to take the website survey.
- Sean Harrington announced the Republican Committee meeting for tomorrow at 7:30 Senior Center.
- Jane Howard announced the Spy Pond Trails Day cleanup on the 11th from 9-1.
- Gordon Jamieson – Collection Day is May 11th 9-1
- Beth Ann Friedman: SNAC meeting 87 Medford tomorrow at 7:15pm.
- John Cole gave the Permantent Town Building Committee report. He updated on the town’s building projects, including the Public Safety building and Thompson School.
- School Committee Chair Judson Pierce introduced School Committee report. Superintendent Kathleen Bodie gave the full report.
- Laurence McKinney gave the report of the Uncle Sam Committee.
Article 25 – Personal Property Exemption
Moderator John Leone stepped down for this article because he has a (small) financial interest in this matter. Assistant Moderator Jim O’Conor took over. I introduced Director of Assessments John Speidel. There were several questions. I regret that I didn’t emphasize that this article was about $3100 in total revenue. With 252 people in Town Meeting, you could have paid us all $12.30 with the revenue we just passed up! Terminate debate from Paul Schlictman. Approved.
Article 31 – Budgets
Board of Selectmen – Question on expense calculation.
IT – Question on Assessor’s software. Questions on job titles that were changed. Question on school budget for IT. There was a question about the new systems analyst postion. CTO David Good explained that we have a “hole in our skill set.” We’re not good at counseling other departments in how they can use IT to improve business processes. This position will help us do that.
Treasurer – He intends to fill his vacant position. There were questions on salary increases, expenses, and overtime. There was confusion on budgeted v. actual.
Legal – Stephen Harrington asked questions on the cost of the lawsuit against the town.
Planning – Budget growth is largely from picking up declining CDBG funding.
ZBA – Question on increase in salary.
DPW – Question on salt usage and equipment choices. Stuart Cleinmann praised the DPW for their response to the microburst. There was a question on the brick holes in the sidewalk in front of Town Hall. There was a question on the “snow graveyard” remediation. The new trash policy was discussed. There was a question on street cleaning. There was a question about too much salt on lawns. Several questions on trees. This debate went on for an hour – I think people forgot you can call the question. Question on sidewalk repair. There was more discussion of trees.
Community Safety - Question on police budgeting and enforcement. There was a discussion of brush and fire risk. Paul Schlictman asked for more parking enforcement and revenue. There was a question on park patrolling.
Inspections – Question on Symmes.
Education – There was a question on Chapter 70 aid and kindergarten. There was a question on high school science MCAS scores. There was a question on user fees for athletics.
We got real slow today – lots of questions that can be asked before the meeting were asked during the meeting. I hope that we can still finish on Monday.