Best of the 2022 Town Meeting Warrant Book: An Owl Pellet
The Owl became curious this morning about what’s going on for the agenda of the upcoming Weston Town Meeting on May 9, 2022. The warrant book will soon come in the mail but it’s already up online and there are some surprises…some things that even this 270-degree Owl head rotation did not see coming. And of course, there are some things that we already knew…budget mathy stuff, CPC funds requests (covered in a past Owl) and general consent agenda stuff. I recommend you all don’t wait for the mail and take a look. The link is here.
Anyway, here are my current favorite articles (totally biased, of course, but I’m the Owl, not a publicly-appointed entity):
- Article 8: replacing a water main on Loring Road. That water main is from 1936 (!!!!) Makes me want to investigate what is the oldest water main in town. It is not on my street, which was created in 1965 (and buried the utilities then, yay!). Also, no time for that research–waiting for my high school intern.
- Article 19: This is in regards to 55 Church Street also known as the decrepit former Weston Train Station. I won’t go into it but seems like a first step toward recuperating this sad place.
- Article 23: Government Study funding. This article was created by the Select Board in answer to the next article, Article 24 which is proposing increasing the Select Board from 3 to 5 members. The study would look at the government’s functioning as a whole and what could be better.
- Article 24: Change Structure of Select Board from 3 to 5 members. This is a citizen’s petition. The Owl briefly covered this, but will probably take it up again for posterity’s sake.
- Article 25: Appropriate for a traffic study at Highland/Boston Post Road. YES PLEASE!!! Sorry, did I yell? Two of the top five accident spots are at that intersection. No.Brainer.
- Article 26: Pickleball courts. Hmmm, the town really wants these according to the Rec Master Plan but Fin Comm opposed. Why? Dunno. Should be fun. Maybe we could play for it on the Brook School courts.
- Article 27: Water tank replacement. This is one expensive sucker. Needs more research by the Owl.
- Article 29: Public tree maintenance plan. Yes, our street trees need a plan. They deserve it really.
- Article 30: Tree By-Law. This has been amended so don’t get too crazy about what is in the warrant book. Make sure to attend the public hearings before Town Meeting.
I would like to take a moment to complain again about the fact that the Finance Committee gets to put after each article if they oppose or approve without an explanation of why they oppose or approve. Should there not be a tiny two-sentence explanation about their concerns? Like is it the cost of the article or do they fundamentally oppose it? Oh, all right, it’s not a complaint really but just a thought because that one-liner in bold does seem to make a difference in your thoughts, no?
So those are the articles that most interested the Owl. What most interests you?
For more information about Town Meeting, please see the Town’s official website here.
FinCom is not allowed to add anything about why we oppose an article in the warrant book. We will speak at Town Meeting on articles we oppose.
Interesting. I do question why, in that case, opposition is published in the Warrant Book.
Finance Committees in MA have a key role in the Annual Town Meeting. As part of that role, we should notify citizens in advance of TM of our views on warrant articles. If we were further prohibited from giving our positions in the warrant book, I would expect that we would do a separate mailing to residents at taxpayer expense, which we are legally allowed to do. In the past, we did do exactly what you suggested above, adding a sentence or two in the warrant book explaining our position, until last year when the policy was changed. I personally do not agree with the current policy.
And I agree with that non-agreement with tthe current policy, if that makes sense. I do think Fin Comm has an important role–I do think the positions could be clarified better instead of just this thumbs-up/thumbs-down thing.