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LIVE BLOG: Special Town Meeting

Whether you are at Lincoln-Sudbury with your laptop or smart phone, or you home watching SudburyTV, join us as Sudbury votes on increasing the Board of Selectmen to 5 members, roof repairs, and other warrant articles.

Greetings from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School as we are less than an hour away from the start of Special Town Meeting.

I think we can all agree if a certain vote goes a certain way for a certain warrant article, Sept. 24, 2012, will indeed be deemed special by many residents.

Since the night of May 8 when "Lavendergate" was borne, the town has been split over the actions of two selectmen, the town manager, and one other town employee who was cited for a third OUI that night. (An update on Elizabeth Rust's court case will be available just after midnight.)

Residents have demanded answers, the Board chairman has recused himself from any conversation regarding Lavender, and the other two selectmen have argued over the proper way end the discussion.

Well, enough residents, specifically Michael Troiano, have said enough with the power struggle and will vote tonight on Article 4, a move to increase the Board from three to five members.

The Board will meet at 7 p.m. at L-S to take its position (all three have said they are not against the move, but have yet to take an official position).

The special "Lavendergate" Facebook page has been flooded with comments from residents on both sides of the issue.

One resident has even tried to persuade others to vote down the article through an email blast.

But the time to vote is just about here. So join in on the conversation. Let us know what you are thinking before, during and after the crucial vote as we provide updates. Please keep it civil so we can keep the comments section open.

And thanks for reading Sudbury Patch!

UPDATE 7:28

Towon Manager Maureen Valente and Selectman John Drobinski have arrived.

UPDATE: 7:29

And here are Bob Haarde and Larry O'Brien. All set to go.

UPDATE: 7:33

We're a bit past the start time ... I think they're trying to get in as many people as possible. Lower level is about 75 percent full. Don't see anyone up top yet.

UPDATE: 7:37

Myron Fox has started the show!

UPDATE: 7:39

Fred Pryor will assist Myron

UPDATE: 7:43

Lower level full ... upper level starting to fill up. Stay on the second floor if you are late to get a seat.

UPDATE: 7:48

Myron going through the basics of Town Meeting. He has asked for civility tonight.

UPDATE: 7:49

ARTICLE 1. ROOF REPLACEMENT AND REPAIR –
NIXON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
To see if the Town will vote to appropriate, borrow or transfer from available funds, an amount
of money to be expended under the direction of the Permanent Building Committee/School
Building Committee for the purpose of partial roof repair/replacement at the General John Nixon
Elementary School, 472 Concord Road, and all expenses connected therewith, which proposed
repair project would materially extend the useful life of the school and preserve an asset that
otherwise is capable of supporting the required educational program and for which the Town
has applied for a school construction grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority
(“MSBA”). The Town acknowledges that the MSBA’s grant program is a non-entitlement,
discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and if the MSBA’s Board of
Directors votes to invite the Town to collaborate with the MSBA on this proposed repair project,
any project costs the Town incurs in excess of any grant that may be approved by and received
from the MSBA shall be the sole responsibility of the Town.
Submitted by the School Committee, Sudbury Public Schools.
(Two-thirds vote required, if borrowed)

Lisa Gutch making presentation.

UPDATE: 7:51

Appropriation of $808K asked.

UPDATE:7:55

2010 survey said older portion of roof should be replaced this year.

Work must be completed within 18 months of MSBA approval and is planned to be completed during summer 2013.

UPDATE: 7:56

Estimated net cost to Sudbury $514K

Taxpayer can expect to pay for 10 years $10 with funding, $16 wihtout

UPDATE: 8 PM

Jim Kelly now explaining the issues with the current roof and how it would be repaired/replaced.

Looks like rotted wood near the gutters will also be prepared. Roof also needs new pitch to prevent ponding.

UPDATE 8:03

We're having trouble fitting everyone more people in ... non-voters are being asked to go to lecture hall across the way to listen.

UPDATE: 8:04

Bit of a mad rush with people coming and going.

UPDATE: 8:05

FINCOM supports article 1

Selectmen support article 1

UPDATE: 8:08

Residents asking about mold issues, life of current roof and life of new roof. And about putting aside money for future issues. Mold has not been looked at, current roof 22 years, and funds have not been put aside.

UPDATE: 8:13

Article 1 passes nearly unanimously

UPDATE: 8:15

ARTICLE 2. FAIRBANK COMMUNITY CENTER ROOF PROJECT
To see what sum the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, or appropriate from available
funds, to be expended under the direction of the Permanent Building Committee for the purpose
of constructing, reconstructing, or making extraordinary repairs to the roofs or portions thereof at
the Fairbank Community Center and all expenses therewith including professional and
engineering, the preparation of plans, specifications and bidding documents, supervision of
work and borrowing costs; and to determine whether said sum shall be raised by borrowing or
otherwise; or act on anything relative thereto.
Submitted by the Facilities Director. (Two-thirds vote required, if borrowed)

UPDATE: 8:16

Jim Kelly says current FCC roof is 22 years old ... flat black rubber portions to be replaced ... cost is $588 plus $20 borrowing costs

UPDATE: 8:19

20-year warranty with new roof

UPDATE: 8:20

Jim showing on slideshow the numerous water stains in the ceiling.

UPDATE: 8:22

Test cuts from Februrary show how poor the condition of the roof is. Numerous repairs have been made and they are increasing.

UPDATE: 8:23

Cost about $11 per year for 10 years on taxes.

FINCOM supports Article 2

BofS supports 2-1

UPDATE: 8:33

Tammie Dufault asked which selectman opposed. Haarde opposed, because of building concerns ... says tennants complaining about it ... says Sudbury deserves a better community center. Makes you wonder what the other selectmen are thinking.

UPDATE: 8:37

First Lavender jab just thrown ... by Richard Paulsen of Willis Road.

UPDATE: 8:38

One resident asks to keep pool section, replace the rest. Kelly says you would lose lockerrooms.

UPDATE: 8:46

Lisa Gutch adds that lots of kids in building, teen center there, park and rec ... roof is pretty bad. Has concerns kids in building with a failing roof.

UPDATE: 8:57

Rich Robison: school committee has no plans to vacate.

Bryan Semple: Is roof safe or not. If not, shut it down.

Kelly said it is safe.

Voting is gonna be close ... can't tell by hands-up.

Standing vote now.

Myron counting one by one.

Recounting negative votes.

By my eye I say it doesn't pass.

I feel like the Jeopardy theme should be playing now.

Article gets majority vote but not 2/3, so it fails.

UPDATE: 9:07

ARTICLE 3. COMMUNITY PRESERVATION FUND - ADDITIONAL FUNDS
FOR PURCHASE OF 15 HUDSON ROAD
To see if the Town will vote to appropriate a sum of Community Preservation Act Funds for the
purpose of increasing the appropriation for the purchase of property located at 15 Hudson
Road. All appropriations will be allocated equally to the Open Space and Historic categories
and funded from FY13 revenue; or act on anything relative thereto.
Submitted by the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen. (Majority vote required)

BofS and FINCOM both unanimously support article 2

UPDATE: 9:10

Siobhan Hullinger asking how the project contract came to be. Wants to hear from person who negotiated contract. Is it legal? Paul Kenny says its legal.

UPDATE 9:17

Article 3 passes overwhelmingly.

UPDATE 9:18


ARTICLE 4. SPECIAL ACT – REVISE c. 131 OF THE ACTS OF 1994 TO
INCREASE SELECTMEN MEMBERSHIP TO 5
To see if the Town will vote to petition the Great and General Court of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts to revise Part III, Section 5 (a) of Chapter 131 of the Acts of 1994 by substituting
the following: “There shall be a Board of Selectmen composed of five members elected for
terms of three years each. At the next ensuing election held as part of the Annual Town Meeting
after approval of the Special Act, three Selectmen shall be elected, one for two years, and two
for three years, and thereafter electing their successors for three years.”; said legislation to take
effect without further submissions to a Town Meeting; or act on anything relative thereto.
Submitted by Petition. (Majority vote required)

Mryon reminds people to be respectful.

UPDATE: 9:19

Michael Troiano speaking

Video taping his presentation.

UPDATE: 9:30

FINCOM takes no position

BofS 2 against, 1 in favor ... shocking

UPDATE: 9:31

Stan Kaplan offering amendment.

Says he doesn't like the process, not the increase itself. It should go to annual town meeting.

UPDATE: 9:38

Bob Abrams speaking ... Bob Haarde just took a seat in the front row ... odd.

UPDATE: 9:39

Abrams says Kaplan's facts are wrong ... in 1994 Sudbury did according to same procedure Troiano says Sudbury is using tonight.

UPDATE: 9:44

Amendment bad idea because of inaccurate facts. Abrams says Myron was there and he knows the truth. 

UPDATE: 9:47

Bob Haarde speaking to explain amendment

Will give BofS time to study, it can stay there a very long time

Examples: Rail trail, Pd station, other developements

UPDATE: 9:49

Drobinski speaking ... respects Haarde, but disagrees. No problem 3 to 5. Concern is do it correctly, benefit everyone. Don't feel differently than anyone else in the room. Don't always agree, that's OK. Welcomes more colleagues.

UPDATE:9:52

Resident Matt Skelley against amendment, says vote now. Not a personal issue, it's what's best for town.

UPDATE: 9:55

O'Brien speaking ... Abrams points are valid ... he neglected to share in 1994 community decided to process of review, BofS spent $20K to hire consultant to advise town. That process was then supported by blue ribbon committee, they brought forth the article that went through 2 1/2 nights of debates/changes ... when succeeded, went to legislature, approved, back to town and approved ... THROUGH THE PROCESS.

UPDATE: 10:06

Vote on amendment next:

If passes, no vote on main motion -- majority vote needed

UPDATE: 10:08

Vote on amendment fails

UPDATE: 10:09

Back to main motion ... Kirsten VanDjke speaking

UPDATE: 10:10

Growth the main reason for move from 3 to 5.

Need more representation ... 11,000 more residents, board needs help.

UPDATE: 10:16

Michael Fee about to speak for an amendment

UPDATE:10:18

BofS would benefit from change, but don't think enact major change without ratifying at annual town election. Don't do it in haste.

UPDATE: 10:19

Suggest it's not an appropriate amount of time to make this change ... only 3 weeks. People should be informed when they are asked to vote.

UPDATE:10:22

Jeff Pope (name?) in favor of amendment.

UPDATE:10:24

Anthony Fortunato many people here to vote on this and want to vote on this. Let's get to vote now so people don't wind up leaving.

UPDATE:10:26

Vote on amendment fails, back to main motion ... but ... call to question

UPDATE:10:29

I think Myron is getting tired

Vote on main motion: passes overwhelmingly

ARTICLE 5. CHEMICAL USE ON PROPERTY
To see if the Town of Sudbury will vote to request that their Federal and State Representatives
and Senators file legislation that will require anyone including the Utilities to: only place on
theirs and/or anyone else’s property chemicals approved by the Board of Health and/or the
Towns Health Officer, but only after a public hearing and written approval from said authority to
use such chemical. If any chemicals have been used in the past then the Utility or whoever
placed said chemicals on any real estate property must clean up said site to the approval of the
Board of Health and/or the Towns Health Officer; or act on anything relative thereto.
Submitted by Petition. (Majority vote required)

UPDATE: 10:45

FINCOM and BofS no position.

UPDATE: 10:47

Rami says don't bring the chemicals to Sudbury and pollute the ground water.

UPDATE: 10:48

Haarde applauds Hakar's stance after seeing how NSTAR destroyed neighborhoods.

UPDATE: 10:49

Vote on question to hear more debate -- approved

UPDATE: 10:51

Vote on motion itself -- article 5 passes

UPDATE: 10:52

ARTICLE 6. ELIMINATION OF UNFUNDED FEDERAL AND STATE MANDATES
To see if the Town of Sudbury will vote to request that their Federal and State Representatives
and Senators file legislation that will eliminate all unfunded State & Federal mandates. Further,
the Town Meeting instructs the Moderator to notify all Massachusetts Communities of Town
Meetings action; or act on anything relative thereto.
Submitted by Petition. (Majority vote required)

UPDATE:11:08

BofS supports article, FINCOM no position

Article 6 fails.

And that's all she wrote. Thank you everyone for joining the live blog!



Mike Hullinger September 25, 2012 at 01:04 PM
The Fairbanks' roof is in need of replacement, however this article may have been one of those that represented what the Town Manager's prior letter described as making lemonade out of lemons and scampling to bring other articles to a special town meeting that needed to be called because of Article 5 (or 6?). Information from the floor of Town Meeting included 1) asking whether a useful life study was done on what some view as a tired building, 2) a representative of the Seniors advising that they have been looking into alternatives to Fairbanks and that even if they had access to other portions of the building, it would not be suitable for their needs, 3) some question about whether SPS district offices would remain there for the long term, and 4) the issue about long term use and alternatives was introduced into BOS a year ago but never put on the agenda. If there had been better preparation, or perhaps more time to prepare than trying to bring it to this particular meeting, the vote may have ended up differently. If these issues are addressed this will likely get affirmative support in the spring Town Meeting. I thought the debate on this article is exaclty the kind of discussion that is needed more often.
Kirsten Vandijk September 25, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Mike, Your point number 1 is my main concern. The Town of Sudbury cannot afford to demolish and rebuild every town asset every few years. Fairbanks has evolved responsibly with the growth Sudbury has witnessed. Maintenance is critical for longevity and is considered investing in the future. I personally believe there should be a free standing Senior Center located in a more central location in town and have voiced that for some time. The fact that the building was only built in 1958 and is now being considered for demolition and new construction suggests a throw away approach instead of flexibility and adapting to current and future needs. You suggest that this article will likely pass in May and was perhaps rushed to make the meeting more productive and one can mirror that observation in regards to Article 4. Article 2 was the sacrificial lamb of last night's meeting and served only to demonstrate the power flooding the aisles (after the actual starting time of the meeting...) can wield. In the past I have consistently voted against new schools when one was existent and required adapting and creative managing. I am consistent in that belief. I can't afford not to be.
Kirsten Vandijk September 28, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I see. "That's what this is all about. All are welcome. No nastiness allowed" :)
Kirsten Vandijk September 28, 2012 at 11:03 PM
You perplex me, Mr. Stein.
will September 28, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Have another drink Bob

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