Voters to consider 41 articles at Williamsburg annual Town Meeting

For the Gazette
Friday, June 01, 2018

WILLIAMSBURG — Voters at Monday’s annual Town Meeting will see a total of 41 articles on the warrant this year, almost double that of previous Town Meetings.

“There is a lot going on this year,” said Town Clerk Brenda Lessard. “We have already set up a plan to go to a second night if we have to.”

The proposed operating budget for fiscal 2019 is $7,538,809. This is an increase of 2.9 percent over fiscal 2018.

According to the Finance Committee report, the average budget increase over the last five years has been 4.7 percent. This year the committee made it a priority to keep the increase lower.

The three major items that contributed to increases for the coming year included $101,758 for education, $68,950 for town employee health insurance and Hampshire County retirement and $17,742 for the town’s debt service.

At the meeting, voters will weigh on changes to seven of the Town’s bylaws as they relate to lot size, special permits, multi-family dwellings, home businesses, accessory apartments, the sale and production of marijuana and deleting the temporary moratoriums on the sale and distribution of marijuana not medically prescribed.

A three percent sales tax on the sale or transfer of marijuana or marijuana

products by a marijuana retailer is also on the warrant.

Two articles address solar power production. If approved, one would authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into an agreement for payments-in-lieu-of-taxes with Hull Forestlands owners a solar photovoltaic facility.

A second would allow the Select Board to take control of the Capped Wood Waste Landfill on Mountain Street, for the purposes of leasing it to a solar energy production entity for the installation of a solar energy facility.

Another article seeks approval for authorizing the Board of Selectmen to spend $4,800 to acquire 4 acres near the Brassworks building for a proposed river park. This park would be part of the Mill River Greenway.

The warrant also includes approving $155,915 for the purchase of a rubber-tire excavator, $22,650 for the purchase of a tractor, and $24,450 for repairs to the Old Town Hall.

Voters will also see two petitions this year. One seeks to secure $20,000 to purchase a four hundred seat automated vote tabulation system.

“This would allow voters to press a button rather than having to hold up cards to vote,” Lessard said.

A second petition, one that has already been passed by several towns in the valley calls for the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war.

“If we are more than half way through the warrant by ten, we will probably keep going,” Lessard said. “If we don’t get half way through by then, we will continue the meeting on Tuesday, the following night.”

The annual Town Meeting will be held at the Anne T. Dunphy School at 7 p.m. Voters are asked to come early so that the meeting can start promptly. The warrant for the meeting can be found on the town’s website at www.burgy.org.