, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 1, 2013

Town Meeting approves $12.8M budget

Spending plan includes hire of one police officer, 2 percent employee raise


But a second request, $105,690 for to replace flooring in the gymnasium as it is renovated into a cafetorium –received more debate. The work is not part of the scope for the current project but could become a safety issue that needs to be addressed “sooner rather than later,” said Brad Dore of the Page School Building Committee.

Acting now would save the town money in the long run, he said. A majority of the Finance Committee opposed the request and selectman Bert Knowles, Jr. abstained from recommending it, but in the end, voters passed it.

Joe Uniejewski of the Finance Committee, argued for turning down this expansion of scope and instead accelerating a “post Phase II” plan that prioritized remaining items that were not addressed within the scope of the original project.

Dore said the building committee understands the need to plan for future capital improvements in a timely manner, but added that sometimes “we need to look at things in the present and take advantage of opportunities as they avail themselves.”

Selectman Glenn Kemper agreed, saying the floor replacement would “cost us now or cost us later.”

Voters also disregarded advice from the Finance Committee and Knowles, and adopted the state’s Building Energy Conservation Stretch Code –which mandates 20 percent more energy efficiency than standard building codes. Kemper and Selectman Dick Cushing recommended the vote be left to the “will of the town.”

Opponents felt the level of a home’s energy efficiency should be the homeowner’s personal choice. They worried the additional costs associated with the upgraded standards could deter new building in town. Resident Kristi Devine noted the town will now automatically be subjected to new, more stringent standards which the state has yet to define.

But others praised the Energy Advisory’s forward thinking. “This is the 21st century. It’s time for us all to become more energy efficient,” said Barry Fogel.

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