Tonight’s fall Special Town Meeting will attempt to tackle at 24 article, 43 page warrant. As is typical of the special town meeting, most of the warrant articles focus on shifting funds between various Town accounts as the fiscal 2018 budget (which went into effect 7/1/17) plays out. Annual Town Meeting in May establishes the fiscal year budgets, but adjustments are required to certain line items as actual revenues and expenses become known.
Several articles are worth noting, however, and will likely generate some discussion.
Article 9 seeks $100,000 to study and possibly purchase LED street light conversion, with the hope that LED lighting would lead to long-term savings.
Article 11 asks for a $30,000 allocation from the Special Revenue Yong Shing account to pay for moving the current skatepark to a different location at Lemansky Park in order to make room for a proposed dog park on the current skatepark site. The Yong Shing revolving account was set up in 2011 when the Auburn Public Schools agreed to rent 15 parking spaces to Yong Shing on weekends to help alleviate parking pressures at the relocated restaurant.
Article 14 asks for a $150,000 appropriation from free cash to hire a consultant to study the current public safety buildings (police and fire station). One of the questions they are hoping to address is whether renovations, additional construction, a joint fire/police complex, or some combination of these, is feasible.
Article 23 revisits the zoning bylaw revision to the Regional Mall overlay district. A similar article was presented at Town Meeting in May, 2017 and required a 2/3 majority to carry, which it did not. The sought-after zoning bylaw change would allow the Auburn Mall to work with Total Outdoor Advertising to erect two electronic billboards on the Mall property, and overlooking the Mass. Turnpike. The Auburn Mall would donate $1 million to the Town, as well as providing a free advertising allotment on the boards once the project is complete.
A similar article failed at the Annual Town Meeting in May, but changes have been made to the proposal to address many of the concerns expressed by citizens such as visibility of the signs, the height of the signs, and distraction to drivers. The billboards will incorporate new technology that only allows viewing by drivers on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Total Outdoor Advertising brought a trailer-mounted example for Town Meeting Members to examine.
Finally, Article 24, while unlikely to be controversial, is interesting in that it asks Town Meeting to accept a donation of about 3.7 acres of land along Southold Rd. from Robert Post. The land is adjacent to the Pakachoag Golf Course and the 50 acres that the Town purchased in 2015. There is no immediate stated plan for use of the 3 parcels identified at 159, 160 and 161 Southold Rd.
Town Meeting begins at 7pm in the Auburn High School Auditorium. Town Meeting members are asked to arrive promptly, as business cannot begin until quorum is achieved, and there is a lot of business to attend.