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Mendon Budget, Ambulance, and Rezoning to be Voted Tonight

On Friday, May 3, Mendon's Annual Town Meeting is scheduled to take place at Miscoe Hill School and begin at 7 p.m. Among the 33 articles on the warrant are the new fiscal year budget, a new ambulance, and expanding the Highway Business zoning in two areas.

Article 3 on the warrant is the new operating budget totaling approximately $19.7 million, a $217,179 increase, or 1.1 percent, from last year. According to Town Administrator Kim Newman, town officials were faced with a number of financial challenges to bring a balanced budget before voters, which included

the Regional School District's requested additional increase of $502,751, an increase of approximately $96,000 to the Worcester County Retirement Fund, and contractual increases.

Article 16 on the warrant is seeking $250,000 to purchase an ambulance for the town. According to Fire Chief Bill Kessler, the current ambulance is 10 years old and does not meet safety standards regarding the stretcher and has emission issues.

The Planning Board is bringing forward Article 30 that would rezone Cape Rd. (Rt. 140) from the Hopedale town line to the Bellingham town line and Hartford Ave. East from General Business and Rural Residential to Highway Business; areas zoned for Highway Business allow for marijuana establishments.

According to Planning Board Chair Bill Ambrosino, the Board has been looking at this change for some time and if passed could make the area more appealing for businesses in town, in particular,marijuana establishments. "We're not trying to hide that fact from anyone," he said. "It's important to get that information out there and then let the voters decide."

The previous article, Article 29, would rezone areas of Rt. 16

from the intersection of North Ave. to the Hopedale town line and Harrington St. from General Business and Rural Residential to Highway Business for the same intent. However, Ambrosino will ask voters whether or not they want to pass over the article until more information is gathered and the amendment "makes good sense for everyone."

Articles 32 and 33 are citizen's petitions backed by resident and Chair of the Economic Development Committee Tom Merolli. Both articles have the same intent as the Planning Board's rezoning articles on the Cape Rd. and Rt. 16 areas, with

the hopes of ultimately bringing in revenue

to the town. He explained several months ago he was not certain the Planning Board was moving forward with their rezoning articles and therefore, drew up the petitions.

Articles 22 through 27 pertain to Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding, including Article 22 which is requesting an additional $1,500 to finish the plexiglass windows and protectors project to the historical Olney Cook Shop located on Hartford Ave. East.

Articles 23 and 24 seek to close funding

shortages from fiscal year 2019 including the shortfall for the Fino property debt exclusion payment totaling $8,702 and the shortfall for the Police Station debt exclusion payment totaling $1,335

Article 25 is seeking $98,100 to fund the Fino property debt for Fiscal Year 2020 and Article 26 is to fund the Fiscal Year 2020 Police Station debt payment totaling $100,505. Article 27 is seeking CPA monies to pay the Affordable Housing Coordinator's part time salary totaling $20,000.

The complete warrant, which includes maps displaying the proposed rezoning for Articles 29, 30, 32 and 33, can be located on

the Town Clerk's Web page, MendonMA.gov




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