Foxborough’s Advisory Committee has begun the process of reviewing potential warrant articles for December’s Special Town Meeting, which now has a date in place - Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. inside Foxborough High School. However, if that date conflicts with the high school’s use of the facility then Special Town Meeting will be held in the high school on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
The town will close the warrant on Tuesday, Oct. 30, which is the deadline for residents to submit warrant articles for the town’s review.
“It does not bind [town officials] from putting something in the warrant,” said Town Manager Kevin Paicos at the Oct. 16 Board of Selectmen meeting.
Not expected on December’s Town Warrant are any articles related to Patriot Place expansion, including a request for more liquor licenses, because negotiations were put on hold after it was determined the town’s negotiating committee was subject to Open Meeting Law.
“There is no way [the Board of Selectmen] or any negotiating committee is going to be ready for a December Special Town Meeting to put forward anything on any kind of warrant article on Patriot Place or hotels or whatever,” said Board of Selectmen vice chair Mark Sullivan. “There’s just not enough time.”
So what is expected to be ready for voters in December?
Paicos said there will be the funding of contracts, Town Hall and Turf Field projects and several “zoning articles that were on the back end” of last May’s Annual Town Meeting that didn’t get dealt with.”
There will also likely be an article related to the Tri-Town Sewer project with Mansfield and Norton but time has become a factor in determining what will make December's warrant and what will be held for May.
“We’ve got quite a few warrant articles that are really up in the air,” Paicos said. … [The town may] end up with half the topics [it] needs on there because we just didn’t have time to pull them together.”
Because of the time crunch, Paicos offered selectmen the option of not holding a Special Town Meeting in December but Sullivan and BOS chair James DeVellis preferred two Town Meetings – both for brevity and the opportunity to focus more extensively on the projects that will be brought to the voters.
“There’s enough to have a special in December,” Sullivan said. “I’d rather have two short ones than one 7:30 to midnight and carry it over to another night.”
Said DeVellis: “We can get rid of a lot of the smaller items [in December] to deal more adequately with the one in May.”
Paicos said cost is not a factor in determining whether the town holds one or two town meetings.
“Town Meetings cost the town about $2,000 to $3,000 to conduct,” Paicos said.
Also discussed at the Oct. 16 BOS meeting was the possibility of holding Town Meeting on a Saturday to allow more seniors to attend.
“Our senior folks out there that would like to attend Town Meeting and seem to not be able to [during the week] … I think if we got the word out maybe we could hold it on a Saturday,” said selectman Lynda Walsh.
Walsh said she has heard from many seniors who want to participate in Town Meeting but cannot attend because of the late hours or the difficulty of driving at night.
“Let’s try and figure this out to get them out there … they are a lot of our voters,” Walsh said.
DeVellis agreed, recalling previous discussions about holding Town Meeting on a weekend so seniors could attend, but the discussion resulted in no action being taken by the board to address the issue.
“[Tuesday, Dec. 11th] seems to work out,” DeVellis said.