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Tewksbury Voters Gather Tonight To Address $99.6 Million Budget, Additional Spending Items

May 02, 2016 02:02PM ● By Bill Gilman
When Tewksbury voters pour into Tewksbury Memorial High School Monday night (8 p.m.) they will be asked to make decisions on well over $100 million in spending items.
Of that total, the lion's share is a record $99.6 million Fiscal Year 2017 Budget. However, despite the imposing budget total, town officials have called it one of the most responsible and productive budgets the town has had in recent memory.
"I've been sitting on this board for years now and I would characterize this budget as the most generous budget that we’ve had to deal with,” said Selectman Todd Johnson, during the board's April 26 meeting. “We're going in the right direction. Early on in my ten­ure we were going in re­verse, making cuts. We find ourselves in the fortunate position now, reflected in this budget, where are re­storing services.”
Newly elected Selectman Anne Marie Stronach took a moment to thank the town's union employees, who agreed to restructure their health insurance program, resulting in $1.2 million in savings for the town.
"(Their concessions) make some of these things possible," she said.
Among the key spending items made possible in the FY 2017 Budget is funding for free, all-day kindergarten for the schools and additional staffing for the Department of Public Works and the Town Library.
The Board of Selectmen voted, 5-0, to recommend passage of the budget.
The board did not vote to recommend defeat of any of the 52 articles on the Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting Warrants. However, the board deferred to the Planning Board on any of the zoning articles and chose to table recommendations on several articles due to a lack of information. The board will make recommendations on those articles on the floor of Town Meeting.

Among the articles the board recommended passage of in the Annual Town Meeting Warrant were:
  • Article 9, which would take $25,000 from Overlay Surplus to fund the popular Senior Tax Work-off program.
  • Article 13, which would establish a revolving enterprise fund for Cable Television, funded with money from Cable fees, for the purpose of establishing and operating a local cable TV studio.
Among the articles the board recommended passage of in the Special Town Meeting Warrant were:
  • Article 18, which would transfer $1.1 million from the Stabilization Fund to pay for a feasibility study for a new elementary school.
  • Article 17, which would take $37,000 in Community Preservation Funds to pay for completion of the restoration of the Wamesit Indian Island.
  • Articles 13-16, which would establish and fund Stabilization Funds for the Water Enterprise Fund and Sewer Enterprise Fund.
  • Article 9, to use an insurance settlement of $151,690 to pay for repairs to the roof of the Police Station.
  • Article 5, which would take $40,000 in free cash to fund a townwide visioning session to allow residents a chance to gather and share ideas on the town's goals and priorities for the future.
The complete Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting Warrants and informational matrix are attached to this article as PDF documents.

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