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Sturbridge firms up Special TM warrant

August 17, 2010
STURBRIDGE — The warrant for next month's Special Town Meeting is set, featuring eight separate articles on which the residents of Sturbridge will vote.

Picking up where this spring's Annual Town Meeting left off, the warrant articles are numbered 23-31, and begin with a slight revision to the approved fiscal 2011 budget.

Article 23 actually seeks a reduction of $120,000 from the town's operating budget.

According to a draft copy of the warrant provided by Town Administrator Shaun Suhoski, uncertainty about state aid figures at the time of the Annual Town Meeting made it impossible to accurately predict local revenue figures. The town's reserve fund was over-budgeted to make up for the then-unknown figures with an appropriation at the spring meeting of $320,380.

The revised appropriation is $200,380. The $120,000 reduction will balance the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year at $24,475,731.

Article 24 requests a transfer of $120,000 from the Water Department's reserve fund to a specific construction and repair account for upgrades to the water treatment facility.

Per order of the state Department of Environmental Protection, the town must upgrade the treatment facility because of "potential groundwater influence at Well Number 1."

The $120,000 contained in this article would be used for the design and bidding process, as well as coordination between Wright-Pierce engineers and the town's water vendors Veolia Water.

Similarly, Article 25 contains two parts, which are intended to cover the cost of the debt service associated with upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility for fiscal 2011.

The first half of the article requests appropriation of $31,223 to be collected through the newly revised sewer rate, and to transfer $75,000 from the short term interest account to the debt service account to cover the over debt of $106,223 that will be due by the end of the fiscal year next summer.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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