Bourne FinCom Discusses Warrant Articles

Articles on the warrant for next month’s Annual Town Meeting were reviewed and assigned to members of the Bourne Finance Committee Monday night during a joint meeting of the finance committee and the Bourne Board of Selectmen. A total of 24 articles appear on the warrant for Annual Town Meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, May 5.

Among the articles appearing on the warrant for next month is Article 9, which calls for $2.3 million for capital purchases and projects.

A total of 33 items are listed in the article that includes requests from eight different departments.

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The largest request comes from the Integrated Solid Waste Management department. ISWM has requested $485,000 for a 50,000-pound tractor. The tractor would be paid for by borrowing $368,000, taking $774 from retained earnings, and transferring the remaining amount needed from articles that were passed at Annual Town Meeting in May 2012.

Among the other capital improvements and projects included in Article 9 is a request from the Department of Public Works for $265,390 to buy a new street sweeper. The request asks for $265,000 in borrowed funds, and $390 to be transferred from Article 3 of Special Town Meeting two years ago. There is also a request from the Bourne Police Department for $159,400 to pay for new police cruisers, and a request for $110,000 from the school department to pay for ongoing asbestos abatement in the school buildings.

Article 14 this year asks the town to request that the town administrator and the board of selectmen petition the Massachusetts General Court for an exemption from civil service age requirements. Town administrator Thomas M. Guerino said that the article was being sponsored by the petitioner, Darren J. Martin of Sagamore Beach. Public records show that Mr. Martin is 45 years old and the maximum age limit for a new police officer, under civil service regulations, is 32. The article would allow the town to hire Mr. Martin “insofar as he qualifies and is selected for employment under chapter 31 of the General laws, any regulations of civil service commission and any lawful hiring practices of the Town of Bourne.”

Mr. Guerino said that there was a previous instance when the town waived the civil service age requirement.

Bourne Police Chief Dennis R. Woodside has not gone before the board of selectmen to present his opinion on the article.

Residents will also be asked next month to approve Article 15, which puts into effect new federally established floodplain maps for the town. Congress mandated that the Federal Emergency Management Agency create new flood zone maps for all developed coastal communities across the country. The new maps, and zoning language specifically required by FEMA, have to be approved at Town Meeting. If the maps are not adopted, Bourne residents will not be able to buy federal flood insurance at any price, and without flood insurance no one in a flood zone will be able to get or keep a mortgage. Also, if a flood disaster is declared, residents, as well as the town, would not be eligible for federal disaster relief benefits. Committee member William F. Grant said that, given the consequences, passage of the article is “basically a no-brainer.”

“We really don’t have a choice the way the act is written. If we want flood insurance, we adopt it,” Mr. Grant said.

In Bourne, nearly 300 principal structures are going into a high risk flood zone for the first time, and about half that number will be moved up from the high risk AE zone into the higher risk VE, or velocity, zone. In addition, about 1,500 homes are facing a rise in base flood elevation; that is the projected level of flooding due to storm surge.

Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting will be held on Monday, May 5, at 7 PM in the auditorium at Bourne High School.

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