Halifax local officials are preparing for Monday night’s Special and Annual Town Meetings, which will bring over 50 articles before the voters.
Issues to be voted on include a $1.1 million purchase of a new Council on Aging Center, and a $20.2 million fiscal 2015 budget.
Many residents and officials are anticipating a long debate over the purchase of the “All Seasons Restaurant” for a new Council on Aging Center.
Board of Selectmen Chair Troy Garron says he is in favor of this article. “It’s not just a Council on Aging Building, it’s a community building,” he said.
Gordon Andrews, Finance Committee Chair, said they are recommending the article contingent on a debt exclusion for the project instead of keeping it within the levy limit.
“Keeping it within the limit, you’re going to then look at possibly not having the money to fund the other departments n the next fiscal year…we would be starting in a hole,” Andrews said.
The Selectmen have not yet voted on whether or not they support a debt exclusion for this project.
Town Administrator Charlie Seelig said if the article is approved to stay within the levy limit, it does not need to go to the polls. However, a debt exclusion would have to be approved at the annual election.
Seelig is anticipating that the Municipal and School Building Committee will make whatever motion will get them a 2/3 vote from Town Meeting.
Other issues with anticipated debate include the school budget line items.
Andrews said the Finance Committee is not recommending the Elementary and Silver Lake Schools’ budget requests.
Andrews said the Committee recommends a 3% increase for the Elementary School. “We feel that they should be able to handle a 3% increase,” he said.
Andrews added that the Finance Committees from the three towns involved in Silver Lake: Halifax, Plympton, and Kingston, have met multiple times to discuss that budget.
“[All three committees] believe that Silver Lake is running on unsustainable budget increases year over year,” Andrews said.
Other articles to be considered include: an $86,000 Toro Lawn Tractor purchase, a 1.5% Wage and Personnel employee pay increase across the board, a Medical Marijuana Bylaw, and other capital needs.
Town Meeting gets underway Monday night at 7:30p.m. at the Halifax Elementary School.