By James Niedzinski
---- — ESSEX — Town residents now have an option for expanding their water and sewer use after voters at a Special Town meeting Monday night approved an easing of a sewer moratorium.
Voters also gave a green light to the town’s Police Department in its bid to replace up to 15 bullet-proof vests for its officers and acquire a new cruiser.
Town voters first backed an amended warrant article that will let anyone who has added a new bedroom, for example, to expand their draw on the water and sewer system for a one-time fee of $716 to the town.
The more than 70 residents who turned out for the meeting at Essex Elementary School did not take up the issue of any new businesses tapping into the sewer system.
The current inter-municipal agreement with Gloucester allows Essex to have 225,000 gallons per day as a reserve capacity of water, although it may be amended in the future, the Town Meeting Warrant had indicated. The warrant was designed to allow property owners to purchase additional gallons needed from the town itself.
Even though the amended article was approved Monday night, the town will still need approval from the state’s attorney general’s office to go into effect. The new sewer service area will affect 37 different properties in Essex, officials said.
Voters also chose later Monday night to approve the replacement of up to 15 bullet proof vests for the Police Department, and the request from Chief Peter Silva for a new cruiser to replace one that currently has more than 100,000 miles on its odometer.
Initially, the inclusion of electronic control weapons — or Tasers — was also set to be on the warrant, but Silva said earlier Monday that was not part of the final warrant. Silva said he was uncertain if the department would pursue their use in the future.
Selectmen and voters were also poised later Monday night to discuss whether to fund repairs to Town Hall and the Town Library, in addition to Fire Department improvements.
For updates regarding Monday night’s later votes, look online today to gloucestertimes.com. For full town meeting coverage, look to tomorrow’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.