Town Meeting Passes Plastic Bag Restriction Bylaw

by | Oct 16, 2019

Town Meeting easily passed all 22 articles on the fall Special Town Meeting warrant last night at Auburn High School. After getting a late start while waiting for an 80 member quorum, the body heard brief presentations from the Finance Committee, Board of Selectmen, and CFO Ed Kazanovicz. The majority of articles pertained to ‘repurposing’ previously allocated funds; that is, previous Town Meetings authorized spending, the the requesting department is asking to use some of those funds for a purpose different from the original approval.

Town Meeting was also asked to approve some expenditures from certain accounts such as the Golf Course Enterprise Account to purchase a new tractor (the measure passed) and the Dog Fines account to pay for some repairs at the Animal Compound. 

Probably the most controversial item on the agenda was Article 16, a town-wide plastic bag restriction, and it proved not to be all that controversial. A non-binding resolution on the May 2019 ballot passed overwhelmingly. After a few minutes of discussion, Town Meeting  member and former long-time moderator asked to move the question, a motion that passed easily. The subsequent vote on the new bylaw also passed easily. Auburn will now restrict the types of single use plastic bags that retail establishments can offer for customer use. While produce and other thin-film bags used to protect or separate items may still be offered, single use plastic carry away bags with handles will not be allowed. Stores can charge customers for recycled or mutli-use bags.  The measure must be approved as written by the Attorney General’s office, and can go into effect 6 months after such approval is received. 

The other bylaw updates pertaining to “tiny homes” and clarifying usage in the Regional Mall Overlay District both also passed handily.