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
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
$434,170 – OPEB Trust
$110,718 – Special Education
$902,346 – Capital and
other One-Time Expenses
Article 4 - Property
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.
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.