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Results from Foxborough's Special Town Meeting 2012

Find out which articles passed Tuesday's Special Town Meeting at Foxborough High School.

Foxborough's 2012 Special Town Meeting drew a crowd of roughly 408 voters to the Foxborough High School auditorium Tuesday, according to Town Clerk Bob Cutler.

The majority of the 408 residents were in attendance to vote "yes" or "no" on Article 6, the turf field project, (click here for more on the article) and left after it was approved, 260-129.

Those remaining proceeded to review and vote on the remainder of the STM 2012 Warrant articles (see table below for complete results).

Special Town Meeting ended just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

ARTICLE VOTE Summary
ARTICLE 1: Fire Contract 298-0 (Adopted)
This article appropriates available funds to fund the cost items for FY13 in a collective bargaining contract between the town of Foxborough and Foxborough's Permanent Firefighters Association, Local 2252, in accordance with Chapter 150E of the General Laws of the Commonwealth, or take any other action related thereto.
ARTICLE 2: Police Contract 295-0
(No Action) There is currently no signed contract, therefore this article will have to be presented at a future Town Meeting.
ARTICLE 3: Highway and Water Contract  296-0 (Adopted)

This article approves funding for the collective bargaining agreement recently negotiated by and between the Town of Foxborough and the Foxborough Highway and Water Employees Union for Fiscal Year 2013.

The agreement will cover the period from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, and add $25,644 in additional cost to the FY13 budget.

Of note:

1. Article IV (Compensation): The salary schedule will increase 1 percent after July 1, 2012, and by 1 percent after January 1, 2013, adding $21,617 in additional cost to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. This adjustment is in line with the policy direction from the Board of Selectmen and consistent with other local communities.

2. Article III Section E: This is an acknowledgement by the Highway and Water Employees Union that the Town can change its health insurance plan under the Massachusetts Health Insurance Reform Statute. This change supports the Town’s goal to reduce its healthcare
costs and brings this union in line with similar provisions for other Town employees.

It is difficult to project the total savings from this change (since the new healthcare program is
still under discussion), but the savings are estimated to be about $400 (single) and $1,000
(family) per policy.

3. The article also contains $4,027 in miscellaneous FY13 increases such as: (a) increase in employee reimbursement for work boots/safety shoes from $300 to $450 per fiscal
year; (b) $50 stipend increase for the Welder Certification holder; (c) $50 stipend
increase for the three Pesticide Applicator License holders; (d) maximum reimbursement
for broken prescription eyewear will be increased from $75 to $175; (e) Backhoe license stipend increase from $14 to $20 per week; (f) Backflow license stipend increase from $19 to $20 per week; (g) stand-by pay increase from $70 to $100 weekly; (h) adjustment of summer working hours (earlier start for cooler temperatures) and clarification of times; and (g) substituting the Town Manager for grievance proceedings.

ARTICLE 4: Unpaid Water Bill 302-0 (Adopted)

 

This article appropriates funds for an unpaid water bill from the Town of Mansfield in the amount of $12,235.21. The amount requested will cover water charges only and not any accrued interest or late fees.

Background: The Town of Mansfield provides water to a small number of Foxborough homes
located near the Mansfield water line and bills the town of Foxborough accordingly.

Foxborough did not receive its 2011 water bill from the town of Mansfield until 2012. This water bill is a legitimate expense incurred by the town of Mansfield on behalf of the town of Foxborough, but because it was received after the closing of the prior fiscal year, it required
special town approval to get it paid. That approval was unanimous Tuesday.

ARTICLE 5: Town Hall 294-0
(No Action) Voters adopted the Board of Selectmen and Advisory Committee's requests that the town take no action on this article at this time after a detailed analysis of the proposed funding mechanism revealed s shortfall several years out. This article will be further analyzed and presented at a future Town Meeting.
ARTICLE 6: Artificial Turf Field 260-129 (Adopted)

This article appropriates $125,000 from the town's Overlay Surplus to be used for the construction of an artificial turf field at Foxborough High School.

Additionally, this article approves the spending of funds from the following sources:

  • TurfsUp NFL Grant $200,000
  • TurfsUp Community Fund Raising $60,000
  • Tree Tech Tree Removal Donation $20,000
  • TurfsUp Engineering Donation $139,000
  • High School Renovation Bond Proceed
  • Balance $1,000,000
  • School Department Building use Revolver $75,000

The field will be built at the high school in the area where the baseball and softball fields are
currently. These two fields would be reconstructed in an area behind the high school.

In addition, lighting and a community-donated scoreboard will be constructed at the turf field.

The School Committee has indicated that this is phase I of potentially a two-phase project.

Phase two, which would cost an additional $1.8 million, (appropriated in the future) would fund the construction of bleachers, an eight lane track, a press box, concession stands and bathrooms.

ARTICLE 7: Organ Donor 14-152 (Failed)

The purpose of this article was to see if the town would vote to accept the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 149, section 33E, which allows an employee of the commonwealth or of a county, or of a city or town that accepts this section, may take a leave of absence of not more than 30 days in a calendar year to serve as an organ donor, without loss of or reduction in pay, with loss of leave to which he is otherwise entitled and without loss of credit for time or service; or take any other action relative thereto.

After careful consideration and discussion, the Advisory Committee recommended not approving this article for a number of reasons, including the lack of clarity around the definition of an organ within the Massachusetts General Laws, the availability of other resources to be used by town employees when such a situation occurs (personal sick time, time-off pools, employment contracts, etc.) and the question of fairness between town and privately-employed town residents, many of whom are not provided with a similar benefit by their employer.

Voters adopted AdCom's recommendation and rejected the proposed article.

ARTICLE 8: Water and Sewer Employees 134-15
(Adopted)

This article authorizes the Board of Selectmen to petition to the state to allow the Town Manager to oversee directly the water and sewer department employees, helping to establish a “Department of Public Works” in the town of Foxborough. (Currently the Water and Sewer Commission has authority over these employees.)

This change is unanimously supported by the Town Manager, Board of Selectmen and the Water and Sewer Commission and on Tuesday, became supported by the voters.

Procedurally, this article was a little different from other articles in the warrant because this
change required an amendment to the Town Manager Act. Amendments like this can only be
done by a vote of the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives. Consequently, Tuesday's vote does not create a bylaw, but rather authorizes the Board of Selectmen to petition the State to adopt this legislation on behalf of the Town of Foxborough.

ARTICLE 9: DISABILITY COMMISSION 67-38 (Adopted)

Despite the Advisory Committee's recommendation of disapproval, voters chose to adopt Article 9 after hearing from members of the town's Disability Committee on Town Meeting floor Tuesday.

AdCom said they recommended disapproval because they did not hear from the Disability Committee regarding this article prior to Town Meeting.

The Disability Committee contested that AdCom did not contact any members of the commission prior to Town Meeting and there was no opportunity to discuss the warrant article.

Members of the committee discussed it Tuesday, explaining it was a "housekeeping article" to update language in M.G.L. Chapter 40, s 8J.

The article, which was approved Tuesday, accepts in its entirety Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 40, section 8J; Disability Commission, powers and duties; members; terms; creating a disability commission for the town of Foxborough.

The committee has been in town for 24 years is tasked with advising the town, its elected officials and other committees and departments on matters effecting residents with disabilities and how such town officials, committees and departments may want to consider such resident’s disabilities when undertaking projects, setting policy and making other decisions that may impact residents with disabilities.

ARTICLE 10: TIER I ASSESSMENT 98-3 (Adopted)

This article appropriates funds to do a study to see if there is any contamination on the property on Market Street at what was the Keating Funeral Home.

The property came into the town's possession some time ago for failure to pay taxes and abuts the old Fire House property both of which the town would like to sell.

Knowing if there is any contamination on the property is important because it could put a potential buyers mind at ease or if there is
contamination give the town the opportunity to clean it up and limit future liability.

ARTICLE 11: AMEND ZONING BY-LAWS
102-0 (Adopted)

This is another housekeeping article that was approved Tuesday. The section of the Zoning By-Laws referenced in this article
contains a sentence that reads - “The Board of Appeals shall not have authority to authorize a use variance except as provided for in Section 3.4 of these by-laws”.

There is no section 3.4 in the zoning by-laws and this article modifies the by-laws to read - “The Board of Appeals shall not have authority to authorize a use variance.”

ARTICLE 12: AMEND ZONING BY-LAWS 103-0 (Adopted) Norfolk County has redone the flood plain maps and designations. In order for businesses and
residents within the Flood Plain Overlay District to be able to continue to buy flood insurance the town would need to modify its definitions. Tuesday's approval of this article implements that change. ARTICLE 13: MUNICPAL HOUSING TRUST 104-0
(No Action)

After discussing this article with members of the Planning Board and the Town Planner, the Advisory Committee agreed that more information was needed.

For that reason AdCom recommend no action and it expects that this article will be brought forward at a future Town Meeting.

Voters approved AdCom's recommendation.

To view the STM 2012 warrant, click here.

Dennis Naughton December 12, 2012 at 11:57 PM
It is not accurate to say that 408 voters voted on the 13 articles. At least half walked out as soon as they voted for Article 6--the turf field. They won't be back until it's time to pack town meeting again for Phase Two of the Turf's Up plan.
Jeremie Smith December 13, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Thank you for the point of clarification, Dennis. The story has been edited to better reflect that 408 was the attendance at the height of the meeting. - Jeremie
Dennis Naughton December 13, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Thanks Jeremie. The revision is right on target.
Steve December 13, 2012 at 01:37 PM
thus the challenges of town meeting. Is it time for a change??? With at least two town meetings every year is time to say good bye to our town meeting style of government?

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