HANSON — Selectmen on Tuesday, April 14 finished their recommendations on articles and signed the warrants for the Annual and Special Town Meetings.
Town Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 4 at the Hanson Middle School in the auditorium. Voters will act on 56 warrant articles.
On April 14, Selectmen voted, 5-0, to support the town administrator’s proposed budget for fiscal 2016, which starts July 1.
Town Administrator Ron San Angelo said the proposed $22,376,854 budget is balanced and meets the needs of residents.
The budget funds 2.5 percent pay raises for all Wage and Personnel employees. It differs from the budget that will be recommended by the Finance Committee, which funds 2 percent pay increases for such employees. The difference is $7,000 to $9,000, San Angelo said.
Selectmen made no recommendation on an article to borrow $266,000 for the Maquan School roof, and left the measure on the Town Meeting warrant for voters to decide.
The article would provide for a project to tear off the existing tar and gravel roof over the gym and cafeteria, original to the school in 1966, and replace it with new PVC roof system with insulation.
Selectmen Chairman Bruce Young said that a new method using hot tar was used in December to fix leaks in the Maquan School roof.
Young said the roof has not leaked since, but there is no guarantee the new method will stop the leaks.
The School Department is getting estimates for repairs that would last for six to eight years, he said.
On April 8, the School Committee voted 9-0 to withdraw the article, he said.
Selectman Donald Howard said there is a big difference between the $1,200 cost to fix leaks and the $266,000 to replace the roof.
“It’s kind of a shame to put money into it if we’re going to tear it down,” Howard said. “You can do some temporary fixes and keep it dry.”
Selectman James McGahan said the town might need to tear the school down as a permanent solution, but the roof has been leaking, people are using the gym and something needs to be done.
“I don’t find that acceptable. The people in there don’t deserve it,” he said. “Put the decision in the people’s hands.”
Selectmen voted 5-0 to recommend an article to borrow an additional $900,000 to finish work on the water tank. A two-thirds vote is required for the measure to pass and the impact would be reflected in the water rates. The two tank bids received exceeded what the town appropriated in the 2014 Annual Town Meeting, and the project will need to be re-bid.
Selectmen also voted 5-0 to recommend an article to borrow $1.3-million to install new water mains, a measure that also needs a two-thirds vote to pass.
Selectmen voted 5-0 to recommend an article to borrow $633,500 for computer replacement in all Whitman-Hanson schools. Desktop computers in use now are 10 years old. The appropriation will upgrade computers for students and staff with greater capabilities and a better user experience for 21st century learning, according to an article explanation in the warrant.
Of the $633,500 total, $70,000 would be allocated to the Maquan School for computer upgrades; $105,000 to the Indian Head School; $175,000 to the Hanson Middle School; and $283,500 to Whitman-Hanson Regional High School as Hanson’s share, said McGahan.
The measure requires a majority vote to pass.
Selectmen voted 5-0 to recommend an article calling for special legislation to allow selectmen to negotiate and enter a three-year contract with the appointed highway surveyor.
San Angelo said that unlike the police and fire chiefs — allowed by state law to negotiate multi-year contracts — but nothing in state law provides for other department heads to have other than a one-year contract.
Since home-rule legislation was sought to change the highway surveyor position from elected to appointed, a similar measure must be undertaken to make the contract change.
San Angelo has said other department heads in Town Hall have expressed concern to him that they would not receive similar consideration.
Selectmen voted 5-0 to recommend an article calling for a $319,356 enterprise budget for the Recreation Department to operate Camp Kiwanee.
Selectmen voted 5-0 to recommend a $370,143 enterprise fund budget for the Board of Health to operate the transfer station.
The board voted 5-0 to recommend that voters approve a capital improvement matrix and plan for the next fiscal year.
The board voted 5-0 to recommend that Town Meeting appropriate $70,000 as the first of three lease-to-purchase plans for two police cruisers.
Selectmen voted 5-0 to recommend a citizens’ petition article to increase the Board of Health from three to five members.
The board voted 5-0 to not recommend a citizen petition article to withdraw from the Whitman-Hanson regional school district.
Selectmen voted 5-0 to recommend a citizen petition article to oppose federal Common Core education standards and associated PARCC testing in the schools.
Selectmen voted 5-0 to recommend that Town Meeting appropriate $10,000 to study Wampatuck Pond, to evaluate contaminants and clean up options.
The board voted 5-0 to recommend that Town Meeting add $10,000 to the school capital stabilization fund.
Selectmen voted 5-0 to recommend that Town Meeting accept a donation of land and buildings by Hubbell Inc. of former Lite Control property at 100 Hawks Ave.