ESSEX — A new police cruiser, funds to repair the Water Treatment Plant roof, a proposed ban on disposable plastics, and 20 other town issues will be up for discussion at next week's Fall Town Meeting. 

Registered voters are asked to attend on Monday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m., at the Essex Elementary School gymnasium, 12 Story St. 

Essex police is looking for $43,200 to replace its old Ford Explorer cruiser for a new Dodge Durango SUV. The Explorer will still be used for basic transportation and training purposes only. According to Essex police, the department tries to take cruisers out of rotation after they reach 100,000 miles.

The town's Water Department is seeking $60,000 to fix up the Water Treatment Plant on Centennial Grove Road. Water Department Chief Operator David Frithsen said the majority of the project will be re-shingling the roof, and no start date has been put in place.

Article 7 seeks a town-wide ban on plastic straws, stirrers and stoppers; disposable food service ware made from polystyrene; and single-use plastic bags commonly used by retail stores. If passed, businesses will be required to stop giving these single-use plastic items to customers at the beginning of 2021.

Article 6 asks to remove the recreational marijuana establishment moratorium, which ended at the start of 2019, from the town's zoning bylaws. If passed, the now-obsolete wording in the bylaw will be removed. Recreational marijuana businesses will still be allowed in town even if the article fails. 

Back in September, the Essex Fire Department received a $143,000 FEMA grant for new radios. If passed on Monday, Article 13 would allow the town to pay the grant's mandated 5% match at $7,200. The new radios have three different types of radio frequency bands and can connect to any city or town’s frequency, among other upgrades.

The Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund is looking to close out a $17,000 deficit it procured over the years. According to Town Accountant Virginia Antell, the deficit was caused by declining interests in the town's budget, which is what the fund uses as a budgetary base. 

Here is a quick run-down of the complete warrant:

1: Amend zoning bylaw (Chapter 6, section 6-2.2) to include more provisions over undefined land.

2: Delete note B ("40,000-square-foot minimum per dwelling unit in the Water Resource Protection District") from Chapter 6, section 6-3.2.1 of the town's zoning bylaw.

3: Widen the types of radios exempt from the town's zoning bylaws for free-standing tower-type antennas (Chapter 6, section 6-3.4.5) and increase the allowed space between towers to 2 miles.

4: Clarify exemptions in the site-plan review process for single-family homes in the town's zoning bylaw (Chapter 6, section 6-3.5.2).

5: Exempt business land use from the town's zoning bylaws regarding inoperative motor vehicles and junk yards (Chapter 6, section 6-5.8).

6: Remove the temporary moratorium for recreational marijuana establishments from the town's zoning bylaws (Chapter 6 section 6-14).

7: Include Section 7-9, “Bylaw Regulating the Use of Certain Plastics by Commercial Establishments in the Town of Essex," into the town's general bylaws.

8: Delete “Resident Parking Stickers shall be valid until December 31 of the year of issue" from the town's general bylaws (Chapter V, Article 4, Section 1, Subsection (p)).

9: Secure money to purchase and replace an Essex police cruiser.

10: Amend the fiscal year 2020 budget as voted at Annual Town Meeting 2019 by increasing the selectmen's budget line item, "Advertise Town Resources," from zero to some other number. 

11: Amend the fiscal year 2020 budget as voted at Annual Town Meeting 2019 by increasing the selectmen's budget line item, "Town Events, Incidental Expenses," from zero to some other number. 

12: Replenish a deficit in the Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund.

13: Secure money to match a state grant given to the Essex Fire Department for purchasing new radios. 

14: Secure money for the town's other post-employment benefits.

15: Secure money for the town's building capital improvements fund, which may also be used for the recreational capital improvements fund; purchase of vehicles and major equipment that qualify as capital purchases fund; Town Hall or Library repair and maintenance fund; Conomo Point Repair, Maintenance, and Improvement fund; and municipal street lighting repair and maintenance fund.

16: Secure money to complete the installation of the Fiber Optic Municipal Area Network.

17: Secure money for the purchase and installation of computer equipment and any related software and peripherals.

18:  Amend the fiscal year 2020 budget as voted at Annual Town Meeting 2019 by increasing the  Department of Public Works' Highway Department budget line item, "Operator Wages," from zero to some other number. 

19: Secure money to replace the roof at the Essex Water Filtration Plant.

20: Secure to remain in compliance with the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

21: Replenish the Finance Committee's reserve fund.

22: Add a sum of money to the town's Stabilization Fund.

23: Secure a sum of money to pay for unpaid bills from a past fiscal year.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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