AYER -- In light of the ongoing construction at Ayer Shirley Regional High School, Town Moderator Tom Horgan proposed holding the fall Town Meeting Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall.

Having counted all available parking spaces, Horgan told selectmen Aug. 22 that he found 215 spaces and 10 handicapped-accessible spots at Town Hall.

Pauline Conley, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said there is a capacity limit of 300 in the Great Hall; the only issue may be acoustics.

"If you speak from the stage you get a different acoustic and you don't have a problem," said Selectman James Fay.

"We'll deal with it," Conley said.

Horgan added that the Great Hall was used for Town Meetings until the 1970s when they were moved to the school's auditorium.

Selectmen agreed that holding the meeting in the Great Hall would be best for this fall.

Special election

Town Clerk John Canney spoke about the special election coming up and the funds needed. Since there are funds left in his budget for the election, further assistance from the town is not needed.

The special election will determine if the Board of Selectmen will decrease from five members to three. "If the question is answered yes, then at the April 2014 election, only three people will be elected as selectmen, and if the question fails, the board will remain at five with only two seats up for re-election," Conley said.

The special election was set for Nov. 5.


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Tax collector deposits

Town Accountant Lisa Gabree and CPA James Giusti suggested a change to the tax collector's deposit of tax receipts bank account. With too many disparities between what is in the account and what is recorded in the books, there are a lot of timing issues for Tax Collector John Canney when dealing with deposits and the account is not reconciled.

Giusti suggested opening a new account for tax receipts in the treasurer's name. This would give the treasurer immediate access to the account while the old account would eventually run out, at which time the account would close. New activity would run through the new account.

Treasurer Stephanie Gintner was not in agreement, stating that that the old account works fine the way it is.

Giusti said the handling of the money will be exactly the same. The only change would be the name on the account, making the account part of the treasurer's cash.

"As it should be," commented Conley.

The board approved a new financial policy to make a new "deposit of tax receipts" account with Gintner's name on it by Sept. 25.

High water bill

Mark Wetzel, DPW superintendent, went before the board over a water and sewer bill dispute at 32 East Main St. The owner of the property, David Belanger, saw a jump of about $1,000 in his water bill during a six-month period in 2012, between June and December.

Belanger said his semi-annual bills are usually $280 to $380, but the bill had tripled by December.

Belanger said he has done renovations to the entire property, spending around $15,000 for each unit. The water system was renewed a year and a half prior to the high bill.

The board suggested the water meter be tested by Wetzel at the DPW to see if the meter is the issue, which will cost Belanger $50 if there is nothing wrong with the meter.

Belanger indicated that he didn't want to pay any more to the DPW whether the meter is faulty or not.

The board ended the discussion, stating that the meter needs to be checked.