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FY15 Budget, 37 Articles Await May 19 Decisions

Town Meeting Members will consider a 38-article warrant when the Annual Town Meeting convenes in Upper Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. on May 19. In addition to the proposed $87.3-million operating budget for Fiscal Year 2015, they face controversial articles involving a $4.6-million request to renovate the armory building on Pearl St. and whether to put 200 acres of environmentally sensitive land under a permanent conservation restriction.

The Finance Committee is recommending favorable action on Article 4, proposed $87.3-million operating budget for FY 2015, which runs from July 1 of this year through June 30 of next year. The amount is 3.6 percent higher than the current year's $84.3-million budget.

Other monetary articles on the warrant include:

• Setting the wage and salary levels for FY15, with a 2 percent raise as recommended by the Personnel Board (Article 2);

• Setting the salary and compensation levels for FY15 for all elected officials (Article 3);

• $45,000 to the Veterans Department budget to supplement its current budget (Article 15);

• $25,000 for consultants to help prepare the town's annual Community Development Block Grant application (Article 18);

• Approving the $2.9-million expansion of Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School (Article 20);

• $15,000 for consultants to analyze the town's graphic information system (GIS) needs (Article 22);

• $45,500 to fund a collective bargaining agreement with Milford Town Library employees (Article 25);

• $30,000 to demolish a decaying home at 11 Temple St. which the town acquired through a tax foreclosure process (Article 26)

• $23,000 to purchase and install a flashing traffic beacon where the Upper Charles Trail will cross Hayward St. (Article 28); and

• $12,000 to buy computer tablets for members of the Finance Committee (Article 31).

Another financial item to be tackled is the estimated $500,000 in deficit spending for snow and ice removal incurred by the Highway Department during this past winter. Under state law, the snow and ice removal account is the only line item in city and town budgets that can be overspent. The Highway Department dealt with 21 separate storms amounting to 77.6 inches of snowfall between last December 6 and March 13 of this year.

Article 17 is a three-part article that would transfer the "care, custody and jurisdiction" of five town-owned parcels of land to the Conservation Commission; would authorize the Board of Selectmen or Conservation Commission to enter into a Conservation Restriction (CR)agreement for eight town-owned parcels of land; and, would authorize $12,500 to fund costs associated with the CR. While many town officials favor the first part of the article, various officials have voiced their opposition to the second and third sections.

Article 24 would provide $4.6-million to bring the armory building – which houses the Milford Youth Center – up to current building codes. Some town officials favor holding off on the renovations until the town can first study whether the Middle School East building – set to be vacated by the School Department once the new Woodland Elementary School is constructed – would be a more suitable site for the Youth Center.

There also are four requests by town officials to amend the town's Zoning By-laws:

• Changing the wording regarding Site Plan application requirements and time limits (Article 16);

• Allowing life science research and development and scientific research and development uses in the Business Park and Industrial zoned districts (Article 21);

• Making the section on swimming pool fences match the state building code (Article 23); and,

• Prohibiting gasoline service stations in the Central Commercial district that runs from the Police Station to the Thom Building (Article 27).




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