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Nov 19

Warrant Article Review - Round 1

Posted on November 19, 2018 at 2:02 PM by Michael Herbert

Just a reminder that tonight (11/19) at 6:30 PM at the BOS Meeting Room, I will be joined with staff and board and committee members to discuss the warrant articles being put forward at the Special Town Meeting on 11/28. In addition to that, I will start posting about several of the warrant articles in advance of next Wednesday. Here is the first round:

Article 2 – Free Cash Appropriations

Free cash is the amount of money left over at the end of the year after the Town balances its books. It can be generated by a number of sources – we get a one-time influx of revenue over and above what we were expecting (like through a grant or redeemed tax liens), or perhaps we are unable to fill a budgeted position and so the money allocated for that position is not spent that year. Regardless of source, it is one-time revenue and should be treated as such.

Since 2013, Ashland has utilized a best practice whereby this one-time revenue is directed towards our long-term liabilities, stabilization funds, and one-time expenses.

This year, the following amounts are to be transferred from free cash to those appropriate accounts:

$275,000 – General Stabilization Fund

$434,170 – OPEB Trust Fund

$110,718 – Special Education Stabilization Fund

$902,346 – Capital and other One-Time Expenses

Article 4 - Property Tax Exemption

Each year, the Town of Ashland has offered a property tax exemption for qualifying seniors. Currently, Ashland uses what is known as the 41C1/2 Exemption, based on the statute for which it is named.

Each year, the Board of Assessors makes a recommendation on the amount of the exemption. Since adopting the exemption in 2006, Ashland has maintained an exemption percentage equal to around $500 per year. In Fiscal Year 2018, the Town raised that exemption percentage by about 30%, to an amount that equaled $660.

This year, I am pleased to say that the Assessors are again recommending the increased amount.

Article 13 – Purchase of Land, Rear Oregon Road

Most people know that in an effort to better control development, increase our recreational assets, and in general give us an opportunity to better plan for things in the future, we have acquired strategic pieces of property. We have done that because in order to have the ultimate control over a piece of property, we need to own it.

At this Town Meeting, we are proposing the purchase of a 7 acre piece of property off of Lincoln Street (which is a cul-de-sac off of Oregon Road) for $195,000. Similar to the Nicolo property that was purchased last fall, this piece of property is important in maintaining the integrity of the Town Forest. If it becomes developed, it changes the characteristic of the whole Town Forest.

 Oregon Road Property

Article 18 – Road & Land Acceptances

As subdivisions go through the planning process, oftentimes the contractor is required to build roads according to the standards established by the town, with the understanding that the town will then “accept” the road and take on the responsibility for maintaining it. Developers are also sometimes required to donate pieces of land within a subdivision to the town for open space purposes.

Typically, these actions happen after the subdivision has been built. Before Town Meeting, a layout hearing must be held before the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen to ensure that the construction is up to Town Standards and that the donated parcels meets all of the specifications required during the permitting process. Only then will they move forward to Town Meeting.

At this Town Meeting, the Town is proposing that we accept two roads: Tydeman Road as part of the Tydeman Road subdivision,  as well as Royal Colony Circle. The Town is also recommending acceptance of the open space parcels indicated as part of the Hillcrest Estates subdivision.



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