Wareham Selectmen close October Town Meeting agenda

Sep 11, 2018

Voters at the Oct. 22 Town Meeting will weigh several requests, including whether or not to put a multi-million proposal for a new elementary school before residents on a town-wide ballot, after Selectmen closed the meeting’s agenda on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Selectmen placed an agenda item which would ask voters to consider approving a debt exclusion for the construction of a new elementary school were Minot Forest is located. The Massachusetts School Building Authority is set to reimburse the town approximately $59.8 million for the project’s estimated $90.3 million construction cost. This means that Wareham would have to pay approximately $39.5 million for the new school.

If this item is approved during Town Meeting, voters would then have to decide whether or not to fund the school during the state's Nov. 6 election as a ballot question. The debt exclusion would raise taxes on residents to pay for the project for the life of the debt.

Preliminary figures out of the Preferred Schematic Report Submission for the school anticipates that the district share of $39.5 million translates to approximately $0.66 – $0.81 of additional tax burden per $1,000 of valuation. That’s roughly $170 – $210 annually for the average single-family home depending on the length of bond.

Also on the list of approved items was a $333,000 request of Community Preservation Act funds to replace the Lillian Gregerman Bandshell in Onset. The article, put forward by Onset Bay Association President Kat Jones, calls for a complete remodel of the structure as well as the surrounding grounds.

“We’ve been doing cosmetic updates for years,” Jones said. “But they just aren’t going to cut it anymore.”

Selectmen Chair Alan Slavin agreed with Jones’ comment, reflecting on the Onset Blues Festival, which had to be cut short due to a thunderstorm this year.

“Our headliner nearly electrocuted herself preforming on that stage,” Slavin said. “It needs significant upgrades for safety.”

Another approved agenda item from Selectman Patrick Tropeano seeks to update street numbering bylaws which would require residents to place 3-inch numbers on or near their doors so that they are visible from the street.

According to Tropeano, these numbers would help emergency services to quickly identify addresses in a crisis such as a fire or medical emergency.

Voters at Town Meeting will have the final say on whether or not any of these articles are approved. All registered voters may participate at the meeting, set to start at 7 p.m. in the Wareham High School auditorium.