All articles were adopted (although two with amendments)


Above: This special city meeting looked different from usual, but the business of city legislation has been settled. (photo by Beth Melo)

Southborough voters quickly passed 9 articles on the town’s special meeting mandate last night. They then spent hours discussing, debating, and amending 10 before finally passing a version of the downtown zoning bylaw.

The final vote to pass the by-law was 73% approved by around 250 voters.

[Editor’s Note: I  have since posted the Downtown District bylaw details with an update on Wednesday morning to include the final language approved. Click here for that coverage.]

In the meantime, I can share that Articles 1 to 9 were adopted as intended by their supporters, including the pre-arranged plan for amending Article 3. A few clarifying questions were asked, but none elicited any question. debate.

If you hadn’t read articles 1 to 9, here is my recap:

1. Modify the staff rules

Revised the city’s salary administration plan to include an IT specialist position which was included in the budget approved by voters at the city’s annual meeting in May.

2. Modify the city code – Select the table

Simply renamed “Board of Selectman” to “Select Board”

3. Modify the budget for fiscal year 2022

  • Voters approved an amendment proposed by the Board of Health to remove their request from the mandate to increase the staff budget of the BOH. (Read about it here.)
  • $ 150,000 reduction in MWRA water assessment in Water Enterprise Fund budget (Read about it here.)

4. Modify the budget for fiscal year 2022 – Capital expenditure

  • $ 30,000 to for the City’s ongoing work to determine its long-term municipal building needs.
  • $ 85,000 for computer server replacements.
  • Both expenses were charged to the city’s available cash flow, with no impact on tax increases to cover the budget for the year.
  • (Read about it all here.)

5. Traffic study for HVC routes

  • $ 25,000 was approved for a study of the routes taken by large trucks (heavy utility vehicles) through the city. The intention is to help determine which routes HCV should be encouraged / warned to take. This is a step that the selectmen want to take before asking the state for an HVC exclusion for Flagg Road, which could force them to request the lifting of the current HVC exclusion on Main Street. (Read about it here.)
  • As with Article 4, this expense was charged to Free Cash, not adding to the tax burden for this year. (Read more about Taxes vs Free Cash here.)

6. Modify the city code – Advisory membership

Changed the load to reduce the number of members to seven (the current number of members), add a vice-president and rename “President” to “President”.

7. Modify the city code – Notice of municipal meetings

This clarifies the notice required for posting a special city meeting warrant 14 days in advance. (This is the same as the town’s annual meeting notice.)

8. Change city code – City meeting location

This allows officials to organize municipal meetings in a “town contiguous to Southborough”. It is intended to provide options if needed in an emergency situation.

9. Modify the city code – Availability of the annual report

Fixed conflicting language in the city code regarding making city meeting materials available to the public.

Update (11/03/21 9:20 am): I originally wrote that I was waiting for certain details to be confirmed before posting the approved language for the Downtown District settlement. Since then, I have been able to cover these details here.]

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