Natick has released its Fall Annual Town Meeting warrant, a document that lists 29 articles that will be up for discussion followed by a vote by TM members. Town Meeting starts on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 7:30pm, at Natick High School.
The warrant, as usual, is heavy on budget-related articles such as raising and appropriating money to the operational/rainy day stabilization fund; post-employment benefits; bylaw changes, and more.
Other talking/voting points
Police matters: Granting Natick patrol officers, and the positions of Police Sergeant and Police Lieutenant, an exemption from civil service (articles 12 and 13)
Some background: Natick Police Chief James Hicks has spoken about the challenges of minority hiring under the state’s civil service system saying, “Our sworn staff falls under civil service, which is a very complicated and strict process and procedure on how to hire. It’s based on state civil service guidelines. We can only hire from a list they send us.”
Town Clerk’s job: Changing the Town Clerk’s position from one that is elected to an appointed position. (Article 16)
Some background: The town last summer put up a job listing for an assistant town clerk. The position, which involves planning and coordinating the day-to-day operations, functions and services in the seemingly always busy Town Clerk’s office, has been filled. The assistant town clerk position falls under regular hiring, while the Town Clerk is a 3-year elected position.
The MathWorks money: Spending $310,000 from the MathWorks Mitigation Fund, originally to be used for road improvement projects, for which the remaining funds are no longer needed, to two different projects: (1) design and construction of improvements to the intersection of Walnut Street and Bacon Street and (2) design and construction of trailhead improvements at the Rt. 9 entrance to Hunnewell Town Forest. (Article 17)
Some background: How the MathWorks money was found.
Sit down and have a drink: Removing the minimum seating capacity requirements for all alcoholic beverages in licensed establishments. (Article 18)
Some background: Current minimum seating requirements to obtain a liquor license in Natick require not less than 100 seats for the sale of wine and beer and not less than 15 seats for an all-alcohol license. The rules were originally designed to keep Natick from becoming overrun with bars, but some say they are outdated in light of new restaurant business models.
Support veterans: Accepting the State provisions of the BRAVE Act, which provides additional support for members of the veterans’ community and their families, including tax credits and enhanced educational opportunities. (Article 28)
Repairing the Natick Charles River Dam: Appropriating funding to repair and maintain the Natick Charles River Dam substantially in its current location and configuration for a period of a minimum of twenty-five years. (Article 29)
Some background: The Charles River Dam Advisory Committee during its meeting on July 19 indicated they favor removal of the spillway over repair of the 1934 dam, which the State has consistently given a failing grade during regular inspections.
Separately, but related, Natick’s town moderator seeks to appoint 1 citizen to fill a seat on the Finance Committee, which plays a key role in reviewing Town Meeting articles. The moderator is looking to make this appointment by Sept. 15.