TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Board of Selectmen met on Dec. 18, 2020, for their final virtual meeting of the year.
The board reviewed a National Grid pole petition at Andover Street and River Road. Member Mark Kratman and Town Engineer Kevin Hardiman recently did a walkthrough on the site with MassDOT officials. Walgreens will be realigning their driveway with future changes to the intersection.
The board approved the pole petition.
The board reviewed several license approvals. Kratman said he had been looking at other cities and towns, and said that issues over coronavirus restrictions might be cause for waiving or reducing license fees.
“The town’s asking somebody to pay for something, the state says you can’t use it.”
According to Town Manager Richard Montuori, the town receives $81,000 in beer and wine and all-alcohol pouring licenses, $7,350 in amusement device licenses, and $575 in entertainment licenses. Montuori said that communities are addressing the issue differently, but he believes the town can make up revenue that is waived by the committee.
Chairman Jay Kelly said that he hoped future stimulus packages would provide help for small businesses, and said the board might consider offering a refund on next year’s payment as fees are paid in December. Compared to large corporations, “a lot of small businesses couldn’t even get a banker on the phone to get what they needed,” said member Jayne Wellman.
She asked about offsetting fee reductions using CARES Act money before it runs out at the end of the year. Member Anne Marie Stronach was hesitant about offering breaks specifically for small businesses and didn’t want to appear to favor one group over another.
The board voted to approve all liquor licenses, with the exception of the Knights of Columbus and Saffron Indian Grill, which did not return paperwork. The board approved all common victualler licenses with the exception of Saffron Indian Grill.
The board waived fees for and approved amusement licenses with the exception of the Knights of Columbus. The board waived fees for and approved entertainment licenses. The board approved pool table licenses and waived fees for nonprofits such as the Elks Club.
The board approved class licenses. Kratman invited businesses to write in to the board to help them understand how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their business.
In committee reports, Kratman reported that the LRTA is seeking to add bus shelters and change routes to include new stops, such as the public library. Kratman says the LRTA is opposed to cuts in services, adding that Tewksbury is one of the top three towns in ridership numbers.
Wellmann added that positions are open to serve on the town’s general bylaw committee. She also noted that the draft statement for the town’s human rights commission is currently being reviewed by town counsel.
Board members thanked town employees for their hard work in keeping the town functioning over the year.
Member Anne Marie Stronach responded to the Tewksbury Teachers Association’s no confidence vote in the Tewksbury Public Schools superintendent and assistant superintendent.
“I cannot leave tonight’s meeting without saying that I applaud the work of the school department during this pandemic,” she said. “We have to just settle for second best right now, and sometimes second best isn’t good enough, but we’re all handcuffed.”
The board wished residents a happy holiday season.
The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2021. Residents wishing to comment may find the call-in number on their screen and on the meeting agenda on the town website. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33.