TEWKSBURY — Special Town Meeting convened with 73 registered voters
in attendance on Tuesday evening at Tewksbury Memorial High School.
Town moderator Todd Johnson said, “These continue to be unusual times due to the pandemic but we will do our best to make this Town Meeting a familiar experience with a few extra precautions.”
Directional arrows led one-way traffic flow, and stickers marked six foot spacing.
Residents were strongly advised to wear masks, and the microphone was sanitized after each use; the town also discouraged socialization in the parking lot after the meeting.
Johnson also held a moment of silence for all those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
He then welcomed new members of Town Meeting, adding “For all of you who come faithfully, I thank you for your continued presence this evening, especially in light of these unusual times and your commitment to our community.”
Johnson introduced Rob Kocsmiersky, Chair of the Finance Committee, who read the committee’s recommendations to the body.
Article 1 was adopted, which allows for the transfer of funds from accounts with a projected surplus to accounts with a projected deficit to allow for the purchase of needed items or services, including increased costs for the primary and general election, a chiller for the police department air conditioner, baseball field maintenance, and LED streetlight replacement.
The surplus was created because the town is delaying the Department of Public Works/school maintenance facility project until future revenues are better understood.
Article 2 was unanimously adopted, reducing funds from budget line-items to allow the FY21 budget to be balanced, caused by a reduction in revenue from lack of meals tax, hotel and motel tax, and motor vehicle excise tax.
Article 3 was unanimously adopted to authorize payment of $79,472.35 in late bills.
Article 4 sought to transfer $850,000 in certified free cash for a one-time capital expenditure to fund sidewalk design, installation, and improvements on Shawsheen Street.
One resident said, “It’s my hope, prayers, and dreams that someday we have sidewalks throughout Tewksbury.”
She then asked where remaining funds for the sidewalk project on Shawsheen Street would come from; Town Manager Richard Montuori explained that the funding would be provided through Chapter 90 funds and a balance in the current sidewalk account. He also added that the sidewalk will alternate on both sides of the street with granite curbing.
Article 4 was adopted.
Article 5 was adopted, transferring $1,855,815 from certified general fund free cash to the town stabilization fund to be used for future emergencies or one-time purchases or projects.
Article 6 sought to place four parcels under the control of the Conservation Commission for protection as open space, watershed resources, and wildlife habitats, including the Chandler Well Fields, Long Pond, land behind Judith E Drive, and land off Patricia Drive.
The article was adopted unanimously.
The meeting adjourned after just 26 minutes. Johnson thanked high school staff, check-in and elections staff, Town Clerk Denise Graffeo and her staff, Brian Dorrington and the Tewksbury Telemedia team, and “most importantly, you, the residents, who made your town government come to life tonight.”