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Morning Minutes from Last Night's Town Meeting (PHOTOS)

A rundown of articles taken up at tonight's special Town Meeting in Lexington, with a bit on what they asked, what happened and what it means.

Questions and nay votes were in short supply last night at as a special Town Meeting worked through six articles in less than two hours, supporting a and an upgraded fire communications system, among other items.

Article 1: Reports of Town Boards, Officers, Committees
What it asked: Nothing, really. This is a chance for any town board, officer or committee can report to the Town Meeting.
What happened: Committee members filed reports and School Committee Chairwoman Mary Ann Stewart used this time to update Town Meeting members on , including why it’s needed, the status with the Massachusetts School Building Authority and plans to bring this project the polls and Town Meeting the first part of 2012.
What that means: Hard to say.

Article 2: Appropriate for and Bowman Schools Reconstruction
What it asks: Requesting funds——for the reconstruction of Bridge and schools to extend their useful lives.
What happened: Town Meeting approved by more than two-thirds majority, with very few questions and no vocal opposition, save for that from Selectman Peter Kelley, an advocate for building new schools.
What that means: Now that Town Meetings members have supported moving forward with plans to invest $21.67 million in a renovation project for the Bridge and Bowman elementary schools, the question now goes to the polls, as a ballot question in a January special election. Another question likely to appear on that same ballot will ask voters to rebuild the Estabrook School.

Article 3: Appropriate for Fire Communication System
What it asked: That the town appropriate $180,000 to upgrade the Fire Communication System, to be met by raising the tax levy.
What happened: Passed easily after a handful of questions about implementation and how this impacts plans to upgrade communication systems so the Police, Fire and Public Works departments can integrate and communicate with each other.
What that means: According to officials, these improvements will address equipment-caused communication breakdowns between dispatchers and firefighters in the field, which should improve their safety and enhance public safety for Lexington residents. Should take about three to six months for implementation, according to interim Fire Chief Keith Hoyle.

Article 4: Amend the fiscal 2012 Operating and Enterprise Fund Budget
What it asked: That the Town Meeting amend several items approved under Articles 4 and 5 at annual Town Meeting this spring. (See the below charts for a line-by-line account of those items.)
What happened: It carried unanimously after several questions and comments, including an impassioned call for the town to make the veterans services officer a full-time position and hire someone to fill it fulltime.    
What that means: These amendments cover unexpected costs, such as municipal response to , and fill gaps in .

Article 5: Establish and Appropriate to Specialized Stabilization Funds
What it asked: 1.) For $10,500 for Transportation Demand Management/Public Transportation Stabilization Fund, those monies to come from the Transportation Demand Management special revenue account 2.) For $28,500 to be appropriated to the Traffic Mitigation Stabilization Fund from the Traffic Mitigation special revenue account And 3.) For $378,305.59 be appropriated to the Avalon Bay School Enrollment Mitigation Fund, to be met by the Avalon Bay School Enrollment Mitigation special revenue account.
What happened: Passed, unanimously
What that means: A house-cleaning article, as it was described, this action funds stabilization funds with specific purposes, such as mitigating  school enrollment increases by the Avalon Bay developments in south Lexington.  

Article 6: Appropriate to the Stabilization Fund
What it asked: n/a
What happened: It was indefinitely postponed
What that means: n/a

Article 7: Appropriate for Authorized Capital Improvements
What it asked: That 1.) $35,000 be appropriated for the Cary Library Archives Preservation, those monies to come from the Historic Resources Reserve of the Community Preservation Fund (this in addition to the $100,000 previously appropriated under Article 8h of 2010 annual Town Meeting). And that 2.) $65,000 be appropriated for Clarke Middle School Paving project, to be raised in the tax levy.
What happened: It passed by more than two-thirds majority.
What that means: These additional appropriations will close the gap on capital improvement projects for which expenditures exceed the initial appropriations.

ARTICLE 4 A) FY12 Operating Budget Items Amended

Line Item

Description

From

To

2130

Employee Insurance

$25,267,080

$24,017,080

2300

Reserve Fund

$550,000

$900,000

2400

Public Facilities

$9,237,967

$9,274,367

3100-3500

DPW October Storm

$ ----

$200,000

4200

Fire Expenses

$596,810

$656,810

6000

Human Services Personal Services

$341,914

$371,914

6000

Human Services Expenses

$120,155

$220,155

7100

Community Development Personal Services

$969,573

$971,373

7100

Community Development Expenses

$143,822

$148,822

8200

Town Manager Expenses

$245,750

$265,750

8400

Finance Expenses

$385,844

$435,844

8500

Town Clerk Personal Services

$299,789

$300,789

8500

Town Clerk Expenses

$102,350

$121,350

ARTICLE 4 B) Appropriations to the water enterprise fund budget

Line Item Description From To 3600 Debt Service $1,202,906 $1,258,969 3600 MWRA Assessment $5,012,091 $5,049,999

ARTICLE 4 C) Appropriations to the sewer enterprise fund budget

Line Item Description From To 3700 Debt Service $683,223 $879,713 3700 MWRA Assessment $6,866,826 $6,802,875

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