Town Meeting will convene this evening at 7pm at Auburn High School to take up a 22 article warrant. The fall special town meeting largely consist of routine budget amendments and shifting money between line items. The Annual Town Meeting in May passes the annual budget for Auburn’s fiscal year which runs from July 1 – June 30. The original budget is largely based on projections; as actual figures come in, it becomes necessary to update and reallocate money. 

Town Meeting has sole responsibility for financial appropriations in Auburn. Town Meeting consists of 120 elected members, 24 from each of the 5 town precincts. Voters elect 8 members each year from the precinct in which they live. Members serve three year terms. 

The fall warrant also includes three proposed bylaw changes or updates. The highest profile item is likely to be Article 16, the proposed plastic bag regulation. The topic was raised to Town Meeting in October 2018 but tabled as it is anticipated that the Commonwealth of Mass. will eventually pass its own restrictions on single use plastic bags. 

This past May, the annual election ballot contained a non-binding referendum asking voters whether they would support such a bylaw, and the measure was supported overwhelmingly 620 in favor to 381 against. The proposed bylaw essentially prohibits stores and restaurants (retail establishments) from using single use plastic bags for customer purchases. There are certain exceptions for items such as chemicals, cleaning products, or dry cleaning, for example. If passed, the restriction would go into effect in six (6) months.

Articles 19 and 20 seek to make adjustments to previously-approved bylaws pertaining to the Tiny Homes bylaws and the Regional Mall Overlay District, respectively. The former specifies building codes such as square footage and ceiling height requirements for ‘tiny homes’ in Auburn. The latter basically adds medical centers to the definition of “Regional Mall” occupants. It also clarifies lot dimensions and setbacks for properties within the local business district. 

The full warrants was mailed to all Town Meeting Members several weeks ago, and can be found here: https://www.auburnguide.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/1428

A guide to Town Meeting published by the Commonwealth of Mass. can be found here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cispdf/Guide_to_Town_Meetings.pdf