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Union Contracts, Filtration Plant, SpEd Funding Top Warrant For Tonight's Annual Town Meeting

May 04, 2015 11:45AM ● By Bill Gilman
(Editor's note: You will find a complete, printable copy of the 2015 Tewksbury Annual Town Meeting Warrant attached to this story as a PDF file.)

Ratification of four union contracts, funding for Special Education and a $13 million water filtration plant renovation are among the items Tewksbury voters will be deciding on at the Annual Town Meeting tonight in the Tewksbury Memorial High gymnasium.
A total of 46 articles are on the warrant for the Town Meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. 
While none of the articles addresses an issue that could be considered "controversial," there is expected to be discussion regarding the School District budget two articles that would transfer more than $1 million from the town's Stabilization Fund to the School District to help offset its budget shortfall.
Article 15 would transfer $725,000 into a Special Education "rainy day" fund, to be used, if needed, to pay for out of district SpEd tuition expenses. In December, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John O'Connor announced there had been an influx of more than  a dozen families into Tewksbury who had children with out-of-district placement needs, leading to a significant shortfall in the proposed SpEd budget.
Article 16 would transfer $255,723 from stabilization to the School District to pay for needed repairs and maintenance on school buildings.
Voters will also be asked to ratify contracts negotiated by the town with four of the municipal unions, including the Patrolman's Union, the Police Superior Officers Union, the Firefighters' Union and the town workers represented by the AFSCME union.
Outside of the town's operating budget, the single biggest spending item on the warrant is Article 21, which asks voters to approve borrowing $13.1 million for the water filtration plan renovation and upgrades. The upgrades and repairs have been deemed necessary to bring the facility into line with new regulatory standards and to improve efficiency.
One article that has flown under the radar is Article 29, which calls for using $100,000 in Community Preservation funds to purchase an Historic Preservation Restriction on the property at 379 Pleasant St. The home was built in 1727 by the Marshall family and had stayed in the family for nearly 300 years until it was recently sold.
There are also several zoning articles on the warrant. However, zoning articles wont be presented until Day 2 of the Town Meeting on Wednesday, May 6.

(Editor's note: You will find a complete, printable copy of the 2015 Tewksbury Annual Town Meeting Warrant attached to this story as a PDF file.)
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