HARVARD -- About 50 warrant articles await voters at April's town meeting, including money for a new assistant town administrator and zoning for an adult entertainment district.
The Finance Committee continued working on its recommendations to voters last Wednesday. The warrant items are additional requests for money that is outside of the regular budget.
The Board of Selectmen have requested $20,000 for the electronic conversion of paper documents. They have also requested $44,165 for the new position of human resource/assistant town administrator, which will become a future line item in the selectmen's budget if passed. The finance committee has recommended both.
But the committee is not recommending $165,000 requested by the Board of Health for the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project.
The project would span three years and involve mosquito traps, public education and pesticide spraying. Harvard and Bolton are the only two towns in the immediate area that have not enrolled in the program.
In their explanation, the committee states that both the sum and the issues involved in the project are "significant." They argue that there has not been a coalition of local groups, boards and committees working together to ensure success.
Although the Board of Health has planned a public forum on the project, the committee argues that there has not been enough "educational enlightment of the community as a whole.
"Yes, there might be some educational enlightenment of the community, but not certainly for the community as a whole," said committee Chair Alice von Loesecke.
In its five-year projections, the committee expects the town's retirement fund, known as other post-employment benefits, to be set at $425,000 per year. Last year, the town put $250,000 into the fund. Payroll costs and personnel changes are also projected to increase two percent per year for the next five fiscal years.
Zoning questions on the warrant list including zoning for medical marijuana and adult entertainment districts.
The town is ending its year-long moratorium on medical marijuana this year, which allowed it time to plan for any potential dispensaries.
Town Administrator Tim Bragan explained that the Supreme Court ruled that towns cannot ban adult entertainment -- but towns can confine the industry's legal location through zoning.
"You could zone for it, and then it could only go in the zoned area in which you chose," Bragan said. "Otherwise it could go anywhere in the community."
Bragan said he has been talking about getting this done for a while.
"I've been in many other communities and we dealt with it within two or three years after the court case," he said.
Entertainment would be limited to the town's "C" district, which lies somewhere between the Dunkin' Donuts on Ayer Road to the town line near the rotary.
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