By Beth David, Editor
The Acushnet Selectboard set a date of Monday, 11/14, at 7 p.m. for a Special Town Meeting. Deadline for articles is noon on 10/17. Selectboard members briefly discussed the various items that might be presented to TM at its meeting on 10/4.
In addition to spending articles, Town Meeting will be asked to vote on some bylaws changes.
The free cash should be certified by the state this week, and that money can then be used for town meeting articles.
“We’ve been using it to balance the budget,” said Selectboard Chairperson Garry Rawcliffe.
The board tried to get interim Town Administrator Kevin Paicos to find a way to cajole the accountant into giving them the number.
Mr. Paicos said that would not happen, but that it only takes two or three days for the state to certify the number after the town submits it.
Town Accountant and Finance Director Cathy Doane left at the end of June. The town hired an accounting firm, Eric Kinsherf, to cover the duties until a new Town Accountant is hired.
Bylaws changes include proposed zoning changes in the industrial district to allow existing companies to continue to have structures up to 70 feet high. The Building Commissioner will likely propose three bylaw changes.
The articles will be discussed in future meetings.
The board also briefly discussed the calendar for the budget process. Mr. Paicos said he had already spoken to department heads and told them to be conservative with their budget requests.
“Just bare essentials,” said Selectboard member Kevin Gaspar. “No extras.”
In another matter, the board voted to allow the nonprofits in town to use the new recycling system.
Mr. Rawcliffe said that although they do not pay taxes, they are part of the community.
Good Shepherd Food Pantry made the request, but the vote included all the nonprofits, including the churches and the Grange.
Mr. Rawcliffe took the opportunity to ask when the town could have a heavy trash pickup day. He said he was surprised to see all the free items out on lawns on Main Street during the Apple Peach Festival.
Dan Menard of the Department of Public Works told the board that the issue is funding.
“My budget was cut drastically,” said Mr. Menard.
He said if recycling goes up enough with the new system, he might have eno. ugh in his budget to cover a heavy trash pickup day.
If they wait until the spring, he said, he will know if the money is there.
The heavy trash day costs about $12,000, as far as anyone could recollect.
Mr. Menard will get quotes and report to the board at the next meeting.
Mr. Rawcliffe said that if savings on trash are big enough with the increase in recycling, then the town may be able to collect, TVs, too.
The board also heard from Mr. Paicos about the recruitment efforts for both the town administrator and town accountant/finance director positions.
He said the town got 20 resumes with three or four being “extremely qualified.”
The board was not satisfied with the resulting candidate pool that the consulting firm presented to the Screening Committee. Out of that search, they hired Mr. Paicos as an interim, part time TA.
He has taken over the task of the consultant. The Screening Committee is still in place.
“I think you’re [going to] be very happy with the candidate pool,” Mr. Paicos told the board.
In a related matter, the board also discussed the payment to MMA Consulting Group, which did the original search for the Town Administrator.
Mr. Rawcliffe questioned whether the town really should pay the full amount. The board will review the contract and discuss it at the next meeting.
Town Clerk Pam Labonte also addressed the board to announce changes in the polling places.
“We are excited to start using the new library for precinct three,” said Ms. Labonte.
Precinct two will be at the Grange, and Precinct one will be at the Senior Center.
Ms. Labonte also told the board that early voting will start on 10/24. The Town Hall meeting room will be set up with a voting booth, but it will be moved at night so meetings can be held.
Massachusetts is allowing early voting for the first time this year. For more information, visit http://www. sec.state.ma.us/ele/
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