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Debt exclusion override highlights Oct. 10 STM

September 25, 2012

BELLINGHAM — Voters at an Oct. 10 Special Town Meeting will take up a 23-article warrant that includes a debt exclusion override to raise taxes to pay for a $15.4 million water treatment project.
The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium, 60 Blackstone St.
Article 16 asks voters to finance a project to construct water mains and a water treatment plant, as well as modify existing treatment and pumping systems to treat the town's drinking water through disinfection and reduce iron and manganese in tap water. The project would also ensure the town's wells meet state groundwater guidelines.
If the debt exclusion override is approved, taxes would increase for the next 20-plus years, starting in 2014. The tax increase would be $26.75 in fiscal 2014 and 2015; $102.75 in fiscal 2016; and $102.75 every year after that until 2036.
The Department of Public Works has outlined the project in a 138-page report submitted to selectmen a few weeks ago. Wright-Pierce, an engineering firm hired by the town to study available water sources and research possible treatment methods, recommended, instead, that the town update its current treatment options by modifying the existing water treatment plant on Hartford Road and building a second one on Wrentham Road.
Special Town Meeting voters on Oct. 10 will also consider proposals to establish a voter ID bylaw, and financing for the reconstruction of the Bellingham High School athletic field and renovations for the lower level of the Bellingham Memorial Middle School.
Article 8 will ask voters to adopt a general bylaw that would require residents to present a photo ID, including a driver’s license, state ID card or passport, before voting in town meetings and local elections. But the Board of Selectmen is expected to amend the article on the town meeting floor to strike the photo requirement and add to the language other accepted forms of identification, including bills, library, credit or debit cards, rental contracts, and tax statements, among other things.
Petition-submitted Article 7 would raise and appropriate a sum of money for the purpose of financing the reconstruction — complete with artificial turf — of the high school athletic field, along with repairs and reconstruction to the track in conjunction with the field project.
Article 10, submitted by the School Committee, asks voters to finance costs associated with the renovation of the lower level of the Bellingham Middle School on Blackstone Street.
There are also several articles on the warrant submitted by the Department of Public Works, including Article 14, which will ask voters to approve financing the first phase of the Lake Hiawatha sewer project. The funding would pay for the design and construction of gravity sewers, force main sewers, and a pumping station to connect the existing sewer in Hampton Court with a proposed sewer pumping station near Lakeshore Drive. The project would also include sewer construction in the South Main Street in the area between Chestnut Street and Scott Hill Boulevard as well as off road sewer construction.

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