$8.5M in spending before town meeting; 22-article warrant set for vote Tuesday.


Byline: Mark E. Ellis

PRINCETON - Except for the $8.5 million fiscal 2009 town and school budget, tomorrow's annual town meeting warrant contains mostly routine transfers, relatively minor appropriations and insignificant wording changes in the Wachusett Regional School District Agreement.

Action on the 22-article warrant is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Thomas Prince School, assuming that a quorum of 3 percent of registered voters are there at that time.

There will be an immediate recess to take up a five-article special town meeting warrant, and then the annual meeting will resume.

The special town meeting articles seek: $123,655 from available funds to cover overspending of the snow and ice removal account last winter; $5,000 for the salary of the parks and recreation director; $5,000 for Building Department salaries; and voter authorization for the Conservation Commission to lease 26.2 acres the town is purchasing at Gates and Old Colony roads for agricultural use.

One of the five articles includes an additional provision for legislative approval for leasing the 26.2 acres. It will be passed over, according to officials.

On the annual meeting warrant, voters will be asked to appropriate $73,150 for the ambulance operating budget; $80,000 for the trash enterprise fund; $17,000 for the town building maintenance program; $7,000 for the grounds maintenance program; $10,000 for environmental cleanup fund; and $50,000 for the road reconstruction and maintenance program.

A request for $45,000 to buy a used street sweeper has been reduced to $18,000, according to Town Administrator Dennis E. Rindone. "We were at the right place at the right time," he said.

The fiscal 2009 omnibus budget is 4.3 percent higher than this year's appropriation, according to Mr. Rindone, compared to a 7.2 percent increase last year.

He said it was kept low by tight budgeting by all town departments, as well as successful negotiations between town and school officials to reduce the assessment from the Wachusett Regional School District.

The amount sought by the school district was cut $78,105 two weeks ago, when the school committee...

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