PEPPERELL -- Selectmen voted last Monday night to postpone a Town Meeting vote to allow the Water Department to use $180,000 in retained earnings as part of their $1.5 million budget until 2013 annual Town Meeting. The budget had passed as $1.5 million at this year's Town Meeting, but the wording did not specifically include the need for the amount from retained earnings. Although the article requires a town vote and would otherwise have to go before a Special Town Meeting, with the votes of all three selectmen, the state DOR is allowing a postponement of the vote.
Selectman Joe Sergi asked why the issue wasn't caught before going to Town Meeting.
"Somehow at some point we should take ownership of this and say these things have to stop happening," he said.
Town Administrator John Moak, town accountant Gene Ferrari, DPW Director Ken Kalinowski and Board of Public Works Vice Chairman Greg Rice all said they were willing to take a share of the responsibility, chalking it up to a misunderstanding.
"There was a lack of communication somewhere," said Moak.
Selectmen also set the parameters of the veteran's tax work-off program voted upon at the Special Town Meeting. They also made changes to the senior tax work-off program. For both programs, the maximum benefit is $1,000 per fiscal year per household. Applicants must be residents of Pepperell for at least five years in order to be eligible. Seniors must be 60 or older; there is no age limit set for the veteran's program. Those eligible for both can only take advantage of one program at a time.