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Town Meeting Rejects World Flag Proposal

Westford residents approve school window project, FY15 budget.

Westford resident Dr. Chaitanya Hiremath created this new World Flag. Courtesy graphic
Westford resident Dr. Chaitanya Hiremath created this new World Flag. Courtesy graphic

Town Meeting in Westford met on March 22, and resolved a number of financial issues for the town, including the approval of new windows for the Robinson and Day schools and a roof project for the Nashoba Valley Technical High School while also rejecting a proposal to fly the World Flag on the town common, according to town documents.

The Nashoba Tech project, which includes funds from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, will cost around $2.8 million and was approved unanimously.

The window project was approved by a two-thirds margin despite concerns about the cost, around $4.1 million, and what the final grant amounts from the MSBA will be.

The fire station study, coming in at $50,000, was approved by a majority after an amendment on some wording to the article.

Town Meeting also approved more than $1.9 million worth of other capital appropriations including new vehicles for the highway department, intercom systems at a number of schools, and town and school computer equipment, which was approved unanimously. Another $661,000 in Community Preservation Committee recommendations were also approved.

Town Meeting also approved a $102 million fiscal 2015 operating budget, including increases for the school department and other line items, by a majority vote.

Members also approved a resolution rejecting a fee implemented by the town onto the Westford Farmers Market. The motion passed by a majority.

A proposal, however, to fly the World Flag at the Crisafulli School and on Earth Day on the Westford Common, was rejected by Town Meeting, 98-118. The flag was created by Westford resident Dr. Chaitanya Hiremath.

Town Meeting adjourned around 4 p.m., according to the town clerk’s office.

To read the full results from Town Meeting, click this link. To read more about the 2014 Town Meeting, click this link.

Steven Sadowski March 28, 2014 at 02:31 PM
Wayne I disagree. Many of the committees serve no real purpose above what the TM can deliver. In many cases they spend the meeting instructing the Gentry how to vote because most are not lawyers with an expertise in legislative and regulatory law. Have you ever served our sat in on a meeting? Town counsel stays busy. The govt. had grown beyond the normal person to self govern. As for cost I'd privatize virtually everything so...
Wayne Bruce March 28, 2014 at 03:47 PM
Steven, I see your point but the committees provide an advisory/gatekeeper role that reduces the amount of time (and staff resources) the TM needs to spend on a wide array of town concerns. In many cases, the committees end up doing research that the town would need to pay an outside firm for. Yes, the TM or representative often needs to to ride herd on the process, but the alternative is far costlier. And, yes, I know you'd privatize everything. I've seen limited privatization work in some cities in Florida that I was involved with long ago; the pace of development over-taxed the P&Z staff and brought permitting to a crawl. Instead of hiring two or three additional people, the city hired an outside firm to do site approvals, permitting checklists, etc.. In our case, however, with a town this size, we'd arguably lose both money and resident oversight for various aspects of town life. The people I know on several committees actively solicit advice and recommendations from neighbors and other people in town.
Steven Sadowski March 28, 2014 at 05:27 PM
Wayne: I feel the committees are full (and I include myself in this group) of people who have the best intentions and desire to volunteer for the town but do not have the expertise to be in that roll. I do not think all the members on the Fin Com have a business degree or background. I don't think all the people on the SC are educators or former educators. I k ow that I do not have a law degree in land court, nor am I a real estate agent yet i sit on a committee that dispenses parcels and we can go right down the list of all the people who are not experts in their respective committee's pervue. This makes the TM have to explain and in many cases guide them to a vote. I do not think thees committees are saving us money. I think if you look at the legal hours spent by counsel and extra time having the TM have to sit in, you'l see it's probably a waste of money.
Wayne Bruce March 28, 2014 at 06:53 PM
Steven, I appreciate that candor. But I think you sell yourself short. Committees serve a vital role by being an early warning system for issues that might arise at town meeting. I'm almost positive that the TM would second that idea.
Steven Sadowski March 28, 2014 at 09:40 PM
We just disagree Wayne. I don't think committees are "vital." I think they give the grand illusion that we as a town have a say in how we spend our money or educate our children, but the reality is that whether it's Chapter 39, or Common Core, or conservation restrictions, or any myriad of statutes and mandates, we as a town can decide very little. This is the culmination of decades of electing statist politicians, who in turn, legislate top down, central planning. Westford is run by Beacon Hill more than Main Street. So I'd rather just stop the illusions, defunct the "bylaw committees to have the store signs align with WA school colors" and just have the grown ups with degrees and experience run the town and be accountable for results. If they don't provide results we get new management. Simple. Or we can form a new committee (they seem to be forming all the time!) to regulate all the other committees?

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