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2012 Town Meeting Preview Part 2: Administrative Items

Today's part two of our five part series on the 2012 Westford Town Meeting

Hello Westford! Welcome to the second portion of our five part look at the 2012 Annual Town Meeting.

This year’s Town Meeting will take place on Saturday, March 24 at 10 a.m. in the gymnasium, and will continue on the evening of Monday, March 26 if needed.

Yesterday, we began with an overview on Town Meeting itself along with a look at some of the financial warrant articles. Today, we take a look at the administrative articles.

Article 22:  This article addresses a request by the District to allow Ayer in as a new member along with the current communities of Chelmsford, Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend and Westford.

Nashoba Valley Tech superintendent Judith Klimkiewicz has told the Board of Selectmen that Ayer is currently looking to join a regional technical school district in order to save on out of district tuition costs and if Nashoba Valley Tech does not accept them, it likely they will choose to seek acceptance for their vocational students to go to Minuteman Technical High School in Lexington.

If Ayer joins, the district would lose out of district tuition fees, but Ayer would share in capital expenditure costs with all the other towns, reducing the amount that Westford would have to pay any new capital expenses.

In order for the proposal to succeed, it would need to be passed by 2/3rds of the Town Meetings in the current Nashoba Valley Tech towns along with the Town of Ayer, and the proposal would need to be approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Article 23:  This citizens' petition warrant article asks for the removal of new 15 minute parking signs near the Town Common along with a request for a new parking layout on Connell Drive.

Proponents of this measure believe the 15 minute parking spaces have hampered access to events on the Common and in nearby buildings such as the First Parish Church United.

The Selectmen , citing the belief that this measure would worsen the current parking problems already faced on Connell Drive and the Town Center as a whole.

This article is advisory, so it is not binding upon the Selectmen.

Article 24: This article would allow the acceptance of easements for the purposes of sidewalks, drainage right-of-way and other utility purposes such as telephone pole issues.

Article 25: Article 25 is a citizen’s petition directing the Board of Selectmen to establish a uniform policy governing the placement, maintenance and appearance of charity “drop boxes” scattered throughout town, particularly in historic districts.

Proponents of this article have noted current “boxes”, which are comparable in size to small dumpsters, have caused aesthetic problems, served as a safety hazard at times, and in some cases have misrepresented for-profit groups as non-profit groups.

Article 26 and 27: These articles would remain portions of Westford’s Public Schools after people. Article 26 would rename the gymnasium after head basketball coach Ed Scollan, who is retiring after teaching history for 37 years. Article 27 would name the Blanchard Middle School auditorium after Katie Enos, a young Blanchard student who died in a car accident.

Article 28: A group of residents brought this citizens' petition forward with the hope of creating an Ad Hoc Committee to look at alternate names for the East Boston Camps and the Stepinski Parcel located near Stony Brook.

Proponents of this article have stated that the land needs a name that reflects Westford, rather than the underprivileged children from East Boston who went to the camp for 75 years until 2006.

Opponents of the article believe that the East Boston name is in itself a part of Westford history and feel that it is unnecessary to create a committee for a new name. This is particularly due to the fact that the Conservation Commission, which would have the ultimate say on a recommendation if there is an Ad Hoc Committee, currently state that they are opposed to renaming the land parcels.

Article 1: This article would allow the town to accept the reports of boards and committees printed within the Fiscal Year 2011 Town Report, which is currently available to the public for free at Town Hall and on the town website.  

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