High school turf field funding before town meeting voters
Donna Whitehead email@example.com Thursday May 16, 2019 at 9:12 AM
EASTON — Renovation of the Oliver Ames High School athletic field, a solar tax agreement and an $85.7 million town budget are among the business before town meeting voters next week.
Some $380,000 in Community Preservation Act funds are requested to help pay for the $812,000 project to replace the artificial turf field and resurface the track at Muscato Stadium at OAHS. The money would cover cost of new safety netting and CPA-eligible site work and field preparation. Private fundraising is expected to generate another $200,000 and $185,000 is being sought in the capital budget.
The field is one of $959,912 in projects seeking CPA funds. CPA funding, which is used for preservation of open space, historic resources and community housing, is raised through a local real estate tax surcharge and a statewide Registry of Deeds surcharge.
Smith Farmhouse at Borderland State Park is seeking $43,045 for exterior renovations.
The South Easton Cemetery Corporation is asking for $40,550 to restore and repair the cemetery’s 19th century iron fencing.
Residents could get new Pickleball courts at Unionville Field if voters support $38,000 for planning and design.
Some $25,000 is requested to help fund a plan for re-use and improved public access to Tufts Farm.
Oakes Ames Memorial Hall is seeking $8,000 for a radio fire alarm box and $200,000 is requested for the town’s Affordable Housing Trust.
The town budget includes $42.3 million for the School Department. A group of parents and students recently came to the Board of Selectmen asking that funds be added to the budget from reserve and stabilization monies to restore music lessons for fourth graders.
The $100,000 cut to the school music department was the latest in reductions the School Committee has approved to balance the FY20 budget.
The total town budget initially proposed earlier this year had a $1.9 million gap between revenues and expenses.
Over the last few weeks the school district cut five teacher positions through attrition, eliminated two library positions at the middle and high schools, reduced hours for four library positions and reduced the hours of music department employees by 1.4 full-time equivalence.
The district also cut all requests for additional staff next year such as hiring a second full-time adjustment counselor for the elementary schools, an English language teacher for English language learners and reading specialists at the high school and Pre-K-2 levels.
The $2.1 million in capital budget requests include $600,000 to replace part of the Richardson Olmsted School roof, $140,000 for a backhoe, $10,500 for thermal imaging cameras, $15,000 for protective clothing for the fire department and $27,861 for a lift for the stadium press box.
The town will receive $329,090 over 20 years if voters approve a tax agreement with Eastman Solar LLC. The 1.438 kilowatt solar array will be located at 35 Eastman Street off Route 106.
Voters will also be asked to change the town’s charter to rename the Board of Selectmen to Select Board.
Town Clerk Danielle Sicard encouraged voters to arrive early to allow time for everyone to be signed in and a quorum reached to allow business to begin as early as possible.
OAHS students will be providing babysitting. Babysitting drop-off starts at 6:30 p.m. There will be a sign-in table in the lobby. There will be activities, crafts, a Disney movie, bottled water and Goldfish crackers. Children can also bring a pillow or blanket.
Town meeting is slated for Monday (May 20) at 7 p.m. at Oliver Ames High School.
Reach Donna Whitehead at firstname.lastname@example.org.