By Stephanie Bergman
ESSEX — Monday's Town Meeting has 40 articles on the warrant.
But the primary focus of the debate is expected to center on one issue — the future of the properties at Conomo Point.
The first six articles are devoted to Conomo Point issues, a proposed town budget of $15.6 million with $6.4 million for education, and a sewer service bylaw.
The annual gathering of the town's registered voters will be held Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Essex Elementary School, with registration to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Townspeople are encouraged to show up early, since the turnout is expected to be very high, town officials said; if the meeting runs too late, it may be extended to Tuesday.
At Special Town Meeting, just held April 25, an article that would allow the town to offer the current tenants the right of first refusal to buy the properties — an article some officials expected to pass easily — barely squeaked through at 144-141.
Monday, Town Meeting will take up the issue of allowing the possible sale of the properties south of Robbins Island Road, with the article authorizing the selectmen to take any and all actions relating to the properties.
Another potential flashpoint will be the proposed zoning bylaw for Conomo Point. The version contained in the warrant that is publicly available, however, has undergone significant changes — enough so that the Planning Board is not recommending the article's approval Monday night.
"The board has specific concerns relative to the proposed dimensional requirements and the time available to review the documents," the Planning Board said in its report.
Resident Bruce Fortier said he did not think enough time was given to read the proposed changes, though Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki said the town's Boston-based law firm of Kopelman and Paige ruled the edits acceptable and that changes would be made at Town Meeting. Members of the Planning Board agreed with Fortier, and voted not to recommend the article, without prejudice.
The other Conomo Point articles ask the town to approve money to make renovation to the properties, to cover maintenance and to pay a consultant to help with the properties, as well as appointing new members to the Conomo Point Planning Committee.
Town Meeting warrant
A summary of the articles:
1 - Authorize selectmen to take any action with the lots on southern Conomo Point.
2 - The Conomo Point zoning bylaw.
3 - Hire a consultant to design options for the Conomo Point waterfront.
4 - Raise money for physical renovations to Conomo Point properties.
5 - Raise money for maintenance of the properties on Conomo Point.
6 - Appointments to the Conomo Point Planning Committee.
7 - Electing town officers usually elected at Town Meeting.
8 - Hear reports from town officials and committees.
9 - Amend the town wage and salary scale.
10 - Fix compensation of elected officials.
11 - Pass the town budget.
12 - Fund the Sewer Enterprise Fund.
13 - Fund the Water Enterprise Fund.
14 - Approve the Manchester Essex Regional School District budget and fund the Essex portion of that budget.
15 - Fund the Essex portion of the North Shore Agricultural and Technical School District budget.
16 - Make changes to the sewer service area bylaw.
17 - Extend the moratorium on allocation of reserve capacity in the sewer system.
18 - Change the definition of "abutter" in the Essex bylaws.
19 - Change the definition of "street" in the Essex bylaws.
20 - Approve a change to the Flood Plan Overlay District bylaw.
21 - Acquire a new building for Town Hall and approve the money to pay for it.
22 - Raise money for renovation at the existing Town Hall building.
23 - Buy a used ladder truck for the Fire Department.
24 - Extend the town's waste management contract with Covanta Haverhill Inc for 10 years.
25 - Increase the transfer station stick fee from $150-$170 for residents under age 65, and from $75 to $85 for those over 65.
26 - Establish a $10 per item transfer station fee for bulky items.
27 - Change wording in Chapter V of the town bylaws by removing "Joe's Market side" and replacing it with "odd numbered side."
28 - Accept state law allowing for removal of gravestones and memorials for repair and reproduction.
29 - Appropriate funds for the Community Preservation Fund.
30 - Purchase and install a new outboard motor for the Harbormaster Department.
31 - Purchase a backhoe for the Department of Public Works to replace an existing backhoe
32 - Appropriate funds to be used to defray operation expenses of the various town departments for the rest of fiscal 2012.
33 - Appropriate funds to pay unpaid bills
34 - Rescind certain borrowing authorizations
35 - Raise funds to find a deficit in the town's Chapter 90 funds.
36 - Transfer from the septic betterment fund to make payments to the water pollution abatement trust during fiscal 2013.
37 - Authorize a revolving fund for the dog officer for care of impounded dogs and expenses.
38 - Authorize a revolving fund for the Board of Health for supplies deemed necessary to plan and execute the annual youth triathlon.
39 - Authorize a revolving fund for the board of health for supplies deemed necessary for public health safety.
40 - Authorize revolving fund for board of health for supplies for the public health nurse.