HANSON — Voters passed a 31-article Annual Town Meeting warrant and a 12-article Special Town Meeting article warrant on Monday, May 6, 2019 at the Hanson Middle School. Although all of the votes were nearly unanimous, except for one during the STM that required a count, there was still some passionate discussion on the floor of the meeting, although ultimately the meeting was mostly uncontroversial.
The nearly $27 million budget passed unanimously, almost breezily, to cheers from the audience.
But articles six and seven, which funded the recreation department and the transfer station prompted passionate discussion and some parliamentary maneuvering.
The Finance Committee moved the articles as they had recommended them, not as the selectman had, with less money than the departments had asked for, only funding the departments through October until the budgets could be looked at again at a Special Town Meeting.
Chairman of the Finance Committee Kevin Sullivan said that the Recreation Department and the Transfer Station need to be self-sustaining entities.
Arlene Diaz, chair of board of health, moved an amendment on the floor for more money than proposed to fund the transfer station, but the amendment failed nearly unanimously after town officials said this would throw off the delicately balanced budget, and articles six and seven passed nearly unanimously.
Questions arose during discussion of Article 10, proposed by the Capital Improvement Committee, about whether a fiber network, one of nine capital items listed, would link the school buildings to the town buildings. It would not, but the article passed nearly unanimously.
Selectman Matthew Dyer opposed resurfacing the Whitman-Hanson Regional High School track, part of Article 11, saying after the meeting that they could have added another percentage point to the school budget and kept teachers for that amount of money, although he did not clarify his position on the meeting floor. Article 11 passed nearly unanimously.
Article 11, all capital improvements to the schools, passed nearly unanimously.
The police and fire departments received $48,500 with Article 15 to cover the cost of sending 20 police officers and 18 firefighters to active shooter hostile event response training. The article, moved by Fire Chief Jerry Thompson, passed unanimously.
By the time article 20 rolled around, things started moving more quickly as people appeared to get more tired and the hour grew late.
The Hubbell/Litecontrol property donated to the town was nearly unanimously accepted by the Town Meeting with Article 22, over the objections of Selectman Laura Fitzgerald-Kemmitt, who was the only member of the board to vote not to recommend the donation.
Article 23, to implement Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, was passed over on the recommendation of the Board of Selectman, the only article to be passed over in full.
Finally, a lengthy article bringing zoning bylaws into harmony with the general bylaws implementing a marijuana retail sale ban, was passed nearly unanimously by the body.