Nearly 300 people packed the auditorium at Bourne High School Monday night for the start of Bourne’s Town Meeting.
From the Annual Town Meeting warrant, residents unanimously approved Article 3, the $55.35 million dollar operational budget for the coming year. Bourne Finance Committee chairman Michele P. Ford presented the article and told residents that while the budget is balanced, “it is unsustainable for another year.”
“We must immediately begin discussions and make the hard decisions about the level of services we expect and are willing to pay for,” Ms. Ford said.
Residents also approved Article 15, adoption of the new federally mandated floodplain maps and regulations. Bourne Finance Committee member George G. Slade explained there are consequences to not adopting the new maps and regulations. Bourne residents would not be able to buy federal flood insurance at any price, and without flood insurance no one in a flood zone would 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. The article required a two-thirds majority vote. It was passed unanimously.
Residents rejected Article 18, a petition that called for the town to place on the next election ballot a question asking whether Bourne should request to be released from the authority of the Cape Cod Commission. Selectmen Linda M. Zuern and Donald E. (Jerry) Ellis argued in favor of the motion. Finance committee member Judith A. Conron, Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority chairman Thomas S. Cahir, Gray Gable resident Eugene R. Curry and Buzzards Bay resident James M. Mulvey all argued against it. Voters rejected the motion 128 to 103.
From the Special Town Meeting warrant, residents approved Article 4, a request for an additional $975,000 to the budget for construction of the new Department of Public Works building in Bournedale. The additional money will pay for a fuel island containing two 10,000-gallon gasoline tanks, a canopy at the rear of the building to protect equipment parked outside, a security camera system and fencing around the perimeter of the property. The article required 194 yea votes to pass. It passed overwhelmingly by a margin of 246 to 45.
No action was taken on Article 8, a request for a zoning change on a parcel of land at the corner of Adams Street and Cranberry Highway in South Sagamore. The change would have extended the business zoning district in that area. The article drew some controversy when the advertising for a planning board public hearing on the measure did not list all the names of the property owners who would have been affected by the change. The Bourne Board of Selectmen sought a legal opinion on the legality of the article from town counsel Robert S. Troy. Mr. Troy determined that the posting for the hearing was done legally and the article could be voted on. However, the finance committee did not make a positive motion on the article and it was indefinitely postponed.
Eight articles of the Annual Town Meeting warrant were not voted on before a 10 PM recess was voted on and approved. Among the articles still to be voted on is Article 23, a request for $250,000 for the group looking to convert the former Ella F. Hoxie Elementary School in an arts and culture center. Town Meeting continues this evening at the high school auditorium beginning at 7 PM.