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Central One

Town Meeting warrant items coming into focus

May 03, 2011
CHARLTON — Although almost all of the local political focus is on the 6th Worcester District race and town elections, Charlton voters should also mark Monday, May 16 on their calendars.

That's when they get to do more than just cast ballots — they can join one of the world's few examples of real participatory democracy: the Annual Town Meeting at Charlton Middle School.

According to Town Administrator Robin Craver, this year's meeting will feature the shortest warrant she's seen in many years — just 27 articles. Selectmen have not yet formally voted on supporting most of the articles, including the $21.56 million budget, and plan to do so May 9.

But at this point, nobody expects significant changes since selectmen and the Finance Committee have already come to an agreement on most of the issues. Last week, they agreed to fill a $40,000 gap in ambulance receipts with stabilization money, but rejected using the same source to add $31,000 to the police budget.

The latter left Police Chief James Pervier less than happy, but he agreed to go to the union seeking more concessions to make up the difference. He urged the boards to add the funds to ensure Charlton can keep its 19th officer, arguing reducing the force to 18 would delay investigations, add to overtime costs and make scheduling for "floating" shifts, court appearances and the like more difficult under the current contract, which runs until July 2012.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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