TEWKSBURY — Special Town Meeting convened at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in the Tewksbury Memorial High School gym.
Moderator Todd Johnson assured residents that despite significant changes such as socially distanced chair spacing and masks, “We’ll do our best to make this Town Meeting a familiar experience with a few extra precautions.”
Finance committee chair Rob Kocsmiersky moved to waive the reading of the articles. The body also voted to allow nonresident employees, volunteers, and advisors to speak and answer questions.
Article 1 was adopted, allowing the town to transfer funds from accounts with a projected surplus to accounts with a projected deficit from FY20.
Article 2 sought to re-allocate $220,000 out of $850,000 in funds appropriated for the renovation of Doucette Field (now cancelled with the new elementary school project) to purchase temporary locker rooms, temporary field lights, and to rent a multimedia press platform for the field at Tewksbury Memorial High School.
One resident motioned for indefinite postponement citing concerns about state aid funding shortfalls due to the pandemic. The indefinite postponement motion was defeated. The article was adopted with 55 votes for, and 15 against.
Article 3 sought to transfer the remaining $630,000 from the original Doucette Field appropriation of $850,000 back to the stabilization fund. There was no discussion on the article; in a standing count, 61 residents voted for the article, and four voted against.
Article 4 was adopted, allowing the town to transfer $373,604 from free cash to fund DPW snow and ice deficits, as the amount of snow and ice events and attending costs during the winter exceeded the amount budgeted.
Article 5 was adopted, allowing the town to transfer $226,396 from free cash to fund various one-time capital expenditures, including a fire administrative car, resurfacing of the basketball and tennis courts at Livingston Street Park, software for the assessor’s office, and design and engineering of traffic lights for the intersection of Pleasant and Main Streets.
Article 6 was adopted by a required 9/10ths vote, authorizing $7,962.41 in outstanding bills to be paid to the Middlesex Retirement System.
Special Town Meeting closed at 7:27 p.m. with a recorded 67 voters in attendance. Annual Town Meeting was reopened at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night’s annual Town Meeting had been reserved specifically for discussion and a vote on the zoning bylaw amendment (articles 27 and 28).
The Zoning Bylaw Committee met Monday morning to discuss concerns surrounding public accessibility amidst the pandemic. The committee ultimately decided to pull the articles and put them forward for a vote at a future Town Meeting. The committee, which has been working on updating the bylaw for three years, will remain intact until the bylaw is voted on, though they do not anticipate making any changes to the bylaw as it is now.
At Town Meeting, Zoning Bylaw Committee Chair Bob Fowler moved to withdraw Article 27 without prejudice due to COVID-19. The motion passed and the article was withdrawn.
Fowler then moved to withdraw Article 2 without prejudice due to COVID-19; the motion passed and the article was also withdrawn.
Johnson thanked high school staff, the town clerk’s team, counters and check-in staff, Tewksbury Telemedia, and “you, the residents, who actively made your town government come to life this week.”
With all three sections of the warrant completed, the meeting was adjourned after just nine minutes.