By Cary Shuman
Town Council President Thomas Reilly announced at the Council meeting Tuesday night that the Council received official confirmation from Town Attorney Robert Noonan that the 10 override questions for the May 19 Proposition 2 1/2 referendum are in the legal and correct form.
The Council voted at its meeting Tuesday night to approve the ballot questions after voting favorably on Councillor Nick DelVento’s motion that the questions appear on the ballot in descending order according to the dollar value being requested in the question. For example, the Trash Collection question seeking $979,073 would appear first on the ballot while Question 10 would be the Parks and Recreation Department appropriation ($47, 124).
Town Councillor Richard Gill offered an amendment that a lottery should be held to held to determine the order of the questions. “I think that a lottery would be less judgmental,” said Gill. “That is my preference.”
Town Councillor Linda Calla felt that the descending dollar value format on the ballot was the best option. “People have an idea of what’s out there and how much it’s going to cost them in tax revenue, so it might be easier for them to realize right off the bat the most expensive one and spend a little time and think about that. I think highest to lowest [dollar amount] is fair.”
After Councillor-at-Large Philip Boncore read aloud exactly how the questions would appear on the ballot, the Council voted unanimously to approve the questions and the order they will appear on the May 19 ballot. Gill’s amendment seeking a random order for the questions was not seconded, thus no vote was taken on the amendment.
Responding to a question from the audience during the public speaking forum, Councillor-at-Large Joseph Ferrino Jr. clarified that the breakdown of the real estate and property taxes that each homeowner would have to pay for each of the override will be posted on the town Web site. Ferrino said the question-by-question cost could not be posted until the official vote of the Council approving the override referendum.
In other action at the meeting, Interim Town Manager Larry Holmes outlined the schedule for the Request for Proposals (RFP) and pre-development process for the Dalrymple School property. Holmes said there will be a walk-through at the Dalrymple School on Thursday, April 16 from 9 to 10:45 a.m., followed by a pre-proposal conference at 11 a.m. in the Harvey Hearing Room at Town Hall. Proposals are due May 7.
Holmes said Winthrop will featured on Fox Television (Channel 25) on May 15. Fox has designated Winthrop as a “Zip Town” and will highlight the town’s residents and businesses in the segment.
Gill, chairman of the Council’s finance committee, announced that the next meeting of the committee will be held on Tuesday, April 21 in the second floor conference room at Town Hall. The Council also voted to hold its next meeting on April 21 at 7 p.m.