The date and location of the annual municipal meeting have not yet been set. But the list of potential Articles on the mandate have been. 37 The articles are listed in the draft terms of reference. Most of them are just placeholders at this point.
I will share the full list of items listed below. But first, I want to highlight the single article in the citizens’ petition and the other article to which it responds.
St. Mark’s Street/Pocket Park Project Warrant Items
Under Section 30, the City will ask voters to approve easements for the project already under construction without them. 37 is a citizen petition article asking the City not to adopt this approach for future projects.
As I have already explained, residents and members of the Historical Commission objected to the town proceeding with a project on land belonging to St. Mark’s School without assembly approval of the easements. municipal. Lisa Braccio said the city council had indicated that legal agreements between elected officials and the school were sufficient to proceed before a city assembly vote. It is a position that has been publicly questioned and criticized.
Michael Weishan, chairman of the historical commission, was candid about his objection to the approach. Prior to the close of term, Weishan filed a citizen petition article addressing the issue:
Prevent the use of public funds and easements to improve private property without the prior approval of the municipal assembly
Whereas Southborough ratepayers are facing unprecedented property tax increases to fund basic government services; and while the town possesses a number of plots which would greatly benefit from the expenditure of public funds on improvements, the voters of Southborough wish to inform the Board of Selectmen that they are emphatically opposed to the expenditure of public funds, that they come from city, state or federal sources, to make improvements of any kind to private property without first presenting proposed expenditures to the city assembly and without receiving voter approval before physical work begins on the improvements.
Further, the constituents of Southborough wish to remind Selectman Council that it is not their right to grant easements involving town lands to any person or entity without first receiving approval at the town assembly, and that the ratepayers of Southborough will not vote in support of the granting of such easements is presented to them ex post facto. Nor will they support the use of “interim license agreements” to circumvent this provision. All projects (other than common utilities and sewers) that require the granting of easements must be presented to the municipal assembly and receive voter approval before any project begins.
Other items potentially coming this spring
When the Board of Selectmen voted to close the term earlier this month, it was said to include the “universe” of items that can be dealt with. However, city administrator Mark Purple noted that some items could be taken down if they are not ready in time for the meeting.
The first 17 were annual/regular administrative and fiscal authorisations. These are the only ones that have been included in the draft terms of reference table of contents in the selections January 4 Package. I didn’t notice that at the end of the term there were placeholders for another 19 articles listed. **
A few of the other posts relate to issues previously discussed on the blog, so this should come as no surprise:
18: Payment of accumulated leave for retirees
19: PCA [Community Preservation Act] projects
20: Tree By-law (Planning Committee)
21: Establish the Trails Committee as a Standing Committee (bylaw)
22: Cancel remaining unused borrowing authority for public safety facility
23: Capital Project – Newton Street Watermain Replacement (debt financing, but includes transfer of unused portion of previously authorized bonding authority from Route 9 Water Project and others )
24: Regulations to regulate the process of councils and committees authorized to promulgate their own rules and regulations.
25: Regional School Capital Stabilization Fund
26: Legacy Farms and Stonebrook Village Sidewalk Fund Mitigation Fund ($47,970)
27: Accept new CBAs [Collective Bargaining Agreements] and finance the first year of the contracts.
28: To see if the city will transfer any money from retained water benefits for use in the FY22 water budget.
29: Release CPC funds previously voted by TM for AHTFC purposes and permit their use without further authorization (SHOPC request).
My translation for those who don’t know all the acronyms: Release Community Preservation Act funds previously voted by the City Assembly for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Committee]and allow them to be spent without further authorization (Housing Opportunity Partnership Committee request of Southborough)
30: Easements for the park and the rue Saint-Marc roadway
31: Capital Planning Committee as (standing) Bylaws Committee
32: Noise By-law
33: codified fall municipal meeting; change the date of the spring municipal meeting
34: Neary School Feasibility Study Fund
35: Scenic Drives By-law (sponsored by the Planning Board)
36: Definition of terms to ensure consistency of policies and procedures for all boards and committees
Stay tuned for more details on the articles as we get closer to meeting later this spring.
* The easement issue was only one of many objections to the management of the project. I’ll cover an update on Historical’s plans to address other issues with the park project in a future post.
**The Citizens Petition item has been verified by the City Clerk’s office as meeting signature requirements too late to be included in the posted package for the January 4 meeting. Purple verbally informed elected officials of the addition to the mandate before voting.