Scituate: Town meeting votes yes on meals tax proposal

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Scituate held their first night of annual town meeting Tuesday night and focused on two separate but similar articles – one submitted by selectmen and the other by citizen petition – to impose a .75% meals tax.

Scituate’s town moderator allowed debate on both the selectmens and petition articles together at the same time.

Town meeting then voted yes on the selectmens meals tax proposal which is open ended and seeks to appropriate funds for capital and economic development or whatever the board deems necessary, something that Town Meeting Moderator Richard Bowen called, aspirational.

“I can tell you that the suggested possible uses of the tax revenue are merely aspirational in nature. They’re not binding on the town. Any money that comes in by virtue of the statutory acceptance will go into the general fund as a general receipt and will be subject to future appropriation by a town meeting”, Bowen said.

The town moderator ruled the petition article proposal to create an economic stabilization fund could be taken up at tonight’s meeting, but that earmarking the money into that fund as stipulated in the article is illegal.

Town meeting also voted in a $60.1 million fiscal 2014 operating budget.

Long-time Selectman Joe Norton was also honored by the board and State Representative Jim Cantwell, for his 30 years of service as a selectman.

Annual town meeting will resume tonight at 7 o’clock at the high school.

About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.