WILMINGTON — The town would like to remind residents that this Saturday’s Town Meeting (June 27) will begin at 9 a.m. at the Wilmington High School softball field at 159 Church St. All registered Wilmington voters are invited to attend under social distancing guidelines.
There will be 64 articles to be voted upon, with motions expected to be made to vote on some articles together by the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee.
The first article involves voting in newly elected and re-elected members to the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, and the Housing Authority. Article two brings up reports and actions from committees. Article three would account for the town to pay previous unpaid bills. Article four would allow a term of three years to keep funds on deposit at various banks.
Article five covers the salaries for town officers and departments. This article was a major point of contention at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, where the Chairman of the Finance Committee explained what they’re calling an “omnibus” motion to vote upon the whole budget in a single vote instead of by department.
While Selectman Kevin Caira expressed concern for the legality of this vote, Town Moderator Robert Peterson and Town Manager Jeff Hull both vouched for conversations with town counsel to say that no issues were raised.
Furthermore, this omnibus vote is not made upon the warrants themselves but on the motion to take up the budget in a single vote.
“Any person can say, ‘I make a motion to take the budget up by department.’ Or they could just vote it down and it would have to be brought forth in another way,” Peterson added.
It’s his goal to make room for fair, efficient, and adequate debate or questioning on any line item or article.
The sixth article would authorize new equipment for the police department, fire department, DPW, and the school department. Articles seven and 10 would allow the purchase of radios for the fire and police departments. Article 11 is for the purchase of new patrol rifles. Articles 12 and 13 would allow for the purchase of radio equipment and furnishings in the Public Safety Dispatch Center.
The eighth article is for the purchase of a power loader. Article nine would allow the Information Technology Department to back up its data.
Article 14 will be the vote on the feasibility study and schematic design for the new senior center and the hiring of a project manager, and article 15 is the same thing for the new town hall. Petitioned opposing article 14 are articles 61 and 62, which would vote to transfer $12,650,000 for the total construction of the senior center including feasibility study, engineering, design, and permitting at any of various specified locations.
The next three articles would allow the purchase of LED light fixtures, ceiling tiles, and the Limited Use Limited Application lift at the West Intermediate School. Article 19 is for the reconstruction of part of the Woburn Street School parking lot.
The 20th article would allow restoration at the culvert crossing under Middlesex Avenue around house #290. Article 21 allows for a sidewalk on Shady Lane. Article 22 would let the Board of Selectmen purchase the property at 64 Wildwood St., possibly to expand the Wildwood Cemetery.
Article 23 concerns the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems requirement.
Article 24 would allow for a school facilities and building planning study. Article 25 would be for the replacement of laptops and other equipment for the high school. The next two articles would purchase replacement laptops and projector equipment at the Boutwell, Wildwood, Shawsheen, and Woburn Street Schools. Articles 28 and 29 also have to do with replacing laptops and chromebooks for WPS.
Article 30 lets a sum of money be deposited into the Other Post Employment Liability Trust Fund.
Article 31 would allow a deposit into the Capital Stabilization Fund. Article 32 would help pay the Middlesex Retirement System. Article 33 is for the fiscal year 2020 budget.
The two articles after that deal with paying for the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans’ Day events. Article 36 concerns paying for the veterans and legion headquarters. Article 37 is for the public rink.
Article 38 covers payments for compost and sewage disposal. Article 43 is for a five-year agreement for the collection of trash and recycling. Article 44 deals with the trash disposal. Article 39 concerns the Salem Street Wellfield Rehabilitation Project. The next two articles have to do with roadway surface resealing and the DPW sewer division enterprise.
Article 42 is for PEG access and cable special revenue fund.
The Town Meeting would be moved to the last Saturday in April and the town election the Saturday prior under article 45. Article 46 would set the Town Meeting to 9 a.m. Article 48 would let the articles in the Town Meeting warrant to be enumerated by the Board of Selectmen and presented by the Moderator.
Article 47 has to do with an omnibus presentation. Article 49 lets communication with town counsel to be exempt from mandatory disclosure pursuant to the MA Public Records Law. The 50th article would delete a small section of chapter 5, section 27.5 of the by-law. Article 51 introduces a construction noise by-law.
Article 52 would vote in the provisions of what’s commonly known as the Brave Act. Article 53 allows the Town Manager to lease the Nassau Avenue water tower.
The WHS music room may be renamed the Barbara J. Mette Music Room under article 54. Article 56 would let the outdoor seating area at the library be named the Peggy Kane Reading Garden.
Article 55 has to do with the superintendent entering memorandums of understanding with places like the DCF for foster care transportation.
Articles 57, 58, 60, 63, and 64 have to do with rezoning and amending the comprehensive stormwater management by-law. Article 59 would transfer the care of a few parcels to the Wilmington Conservation Commission.
The final article introduces the traveling animal acts to the by-law to prohibit the participation of certain animals.
These are all of the articles petitioned by residents or introduced by the School Committee, Finance Committee, and Board of Selectmen. Due to the necessity of needing to limit coronavirus risk through long-term exposure, the suggestion has been made to vote on as many articles of little discussion and opposition as possible in a single vote.
The Board of Selectmen are calling this motion the “consent agenda.” Similarly to the omnibus vote for article five, there will still be room to discuss any warrant item to be voted upon all at once. The Chairman of the Finance Committee, John Doherty III, reminded everyone in the audience on Monday night that any article can still be motioned out of any combination or omnibus vote.
Wilmington Town Moderator Robert Peterson said that he hopes that the meeting will begin on time and ensure democracy and social distancing guidelines are followed. Various town personnel shared that there will be a tent on the softball field covering carefully spaced seating, hand sanitizer, bathrooms, and people monitoring distancing and parking.
Hull added that the regular handbook of the Finance Committee and Planning Board recommendations will be given out during the meeting instead of being mailed to residents.
Check-in for the meeting will begin promptly at 8 a.m. on Saturday. While some masks will be available for anyone who doesn’t have one, Health Director Shelley Newhouse asks that everyone who feels comfortable coming out for Town Meeting wear a mask. Any questions or concerns about the town meeting can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All articles for discussion and voting at Town Meeting can be viewed in full at https://www.wilmingtonma.gov/sites/wilmingtonma/files/uploads/revised_2020_town_warrant_0.pdf.