Town Meeting Set to Act on 25 Articles

by | Oct 24, 2013

“In the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you are hereby directed to notify and warn the inhabitants of the Town of Auburn…”

So begins the official preamble for the October 29th Fall Town Meeting.  So consider yourselves “warned.”

For the uninitiated, Auburn operates under a representative town meeting form of government.  TM members are elected from each of Auburn’s 5 precincts in the same proportion as the population of those precincts relative to the Town as a whole. Confused?  The actual bylaw reads:

The membership in each precinct shall consist of the largest number divisible be three
which will result in a total elected membership in the town not exceeding one hundred and twenty.

 So we’ll go with there being about 120 TM members.  Town Meeting meets in May, where they set the fiscal year budget and address other business requiring TM approval.  Special Town Meetings may be called,, and they are regularly called each fall.   This special Town Meeting begins at 7:00 pm On October 29 at the Auburn High School.

Much of the agenda involves money shuffling from one account to another. Basically, once Town Meeting approves the current fiscal year budget at Annual Town Meeting in May of each year, departments cannot spend money approved for one purpose for a different purpose without Town Meeting approval.  So if a department does not use all of their vehicle maintenance budget, for example, but needs a new portable generator, they must ask Town Meeting to approve the transfer and expenditure.

The other common article pertains to departments requesting additional funds out of the town’s general fund.  This is usually for unforeseen expenses or opportunities that have arisen since May Town Meeting.

There are several interesting articles on the warrant.  Article 5 seeks to transfer funds previously allocated to Mary D. Stone and Julia Bancroft under the 2009 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to the Auburn High School to upgrade the gymnasium lighting to energy efficient lighting.  The cost is approximately $75,000, but should provide long-term savings.

Article 6 seeks $108,750 to purchase iPads and Bluetooth keyboards  “to align the District in preparation for the spring of 2014 Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) field test and the 2014-2015 implementation of the PARCC testing.”  This is an upcoming standardized testing process that is designed for students to complete on computers or tablets.

Article 11 seeks $20,000 for the Board of Health to run another household hazardous waste collection day next spring.

The Fire Department is seeking an appropriation of  $39,770 from general fund reserves for a new shift command vehicle.

You can read the full copy of the Fall 2013 Special Town Meeting warrant here: Fall Town Meeting Warrant