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Special Town Meeting Concludes With Lightning Speed

A largely uncontroversial 25 warrant articles were approved in less than in hour in what would be Town Moderator Keith Rauseo's swansong in his role.

Kathleen Brothers signs in voters before the Town Meeting starts. Photo Credit: Andrew Sylvia.
Kathleen Brothers signs in voters before the Town Meeting starts. Photo Credit: Andrew Sylvia.

If the federal government can ever figure out how to move at the speed of Tewksbury’s on Tuesday night, our nation’s shutdown will be a distant memory pretty quickly.

It only took 47 minutes for voters to approve all 25 warrant articles at this year’s Fall Special Town Meeting, which dealt with issues ranging from a new contract for firefighters to a moratorium on medical marijuana facilities until the end of next May.

For Board of Selectmen chairman Scott Wilson, the ability to focus on housekeeping items like transferring free cash and balancing the budget in such a rapid fashion was certainly refreshing.

“This was one of my favorite (Town Meetings),” said Wilson. “It was nice to have it go quickly, I don’t think there were a lot of issues that caused a lot of angst for people.”

While some in the audience hoped that some of the funds appropriated during the meeting could be used for tax relief, Wilson said that the figures discussed would provide only minimal short term relief that couldn’t compare to items such as new playground equipment at various sites across town.

Resident Maureen Castiglione shared Wilson’s views, both on the refreshing pace of the meeting and the approval of funding for the playground equipment.

“I’m thrilled that the money was put forth for the elementary schools in particular, we really need more age appropriate playground equipment,” she said. “I don’t think this was the quickest meeting I’ve ever seen, but it felt like it. It was run very smoothly.”

The meeting was concluded by an announcement by Town Moderator Keith Rauseo that this would be his final Town Meeting, as he would not seek a new term in his role once his current three-year term ends in the spring.

While he wouldn’t discuss any of the reasoning behind his decision, Rauseo felt confident that whoever fills his shoes will be able to run things smoothly.

“I have no doubt, the process works, you can get someone to stand here and replace me,” he said. “I have no no illusions of irreplaceability.”

 

Karyn October 01, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Point of clarification...the funds brought up above in Mr. Wilson's statement being suggested for 'tax relief' by a resident were NOT the funds being delegated toward the playground renovations. Two separate issues. The latter was/is being funded with Community Preservation monies allocated for that purpose. I would like to commend and thank our Town Moderator Keith Rauseo for an outstanding job over the last three years. We will be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable, well researched and enthusiastic replacement! I will miss his explanations and breaking down of the articles via the matrix system making it easier for residents to participate in our Open Town Mtg. Government process!
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) October 01, 2013 at 11:56 PM
Hi Karyn, Just wanted to respond here. Comments on tax relief were mentioned a few times by folks in the crowd, I asked Wilson on that and per above he noted that any relief would be minimal from any of the articles, specifically mentioning the playground equipment.
Karyn October 02, 2013 at 01:26 AM
I know....I was there too. The way it is written/stated above makes it sound as though it's linked together which it isn't. The "Tax relief" questions came way before the CPC articles and had nothing to do with playground equipment. It was referencing the "extra" Town monies received I believe due to higher State Aid and Town revenues than were originally projected and the suggestions by said resident speaker as to how he felt they could be used for tax relief. Just making sure residents are not confused as to what was/is actually funding the playground renovations and where it came from.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) October 02, 2013 at 09:15 AM
Not a problem, thanks for clarifying!
Mary October 02, 2013 at 09:31 AM
The only reason this meeting moved along as swiftly as it did was because of the low turnout of residents. What is it with this Town? It actually is disgraceful! Something has to be done about getting the word out that there is going to be a meeting, period! Karyn, I too, was very sorry to hear that Keith Rauseo is leaving his post as Town Moderator. He was the most informative Town Moderator we have had, and I also enjoyed his explanations of the articles in layman's terms. Not everyone is an Einstein and understands the legal beagle terms they use when they write them up. Good luck to Keith in his future endeavors. Perhaps Keith, maybe you could run for Selectman!!

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