MANCHESTER — Manchester will be test-driving some new tech at Town Meeting on Monday, April 1.

The electronic voting system residents will be using to cast their votes will "likely" be the system the town plans to purchase, according to Town Administrator Gregory Federspiel. The town has been renting electronic voting equipment for the past three years. However, Article 19 on this year's warrant asks residents to allow the the town to spend  $45,000 on the hardware.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Elementary School gymnasium, 43 Lincoln St. A quorum of 100 registered voters is needed. All articles will be introduced to the floor in order unless a motion is passed to move an article. 

Residents should have received both the annual town report and finance committee report in the mail. If not, copies as well as the warrant may be downloaded from the town's website or picked up at town. 

Selectmen are recommending approval of Articles 1 through 16, and are reserving their opinions on  Articles 17 through 20 until they are called at Town Meeting.

Some articles to look out for include Article 6, which asks for $255,000 to purchase a new ambulance. Article 8 is to allocate funds for the town's share of Manchester Essex Regional School District's fiscal year 2020 budget, which is $14,668,256; and in Article 10, selectmen are looking for $10,000 to fund the town's 375th anniversary celebrations.

Article 7 asks the town for $295,000 for drainage and sidewalk repair, which could be used to construct a new culvert underneath the Central Street bridge.

A community petition, Article 17, asks residents to disallow food establishments from using polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) products. These synthetic materials are common in take-out food containers and plastic utensils.

Article 19, another citizen's petition, asks voters this non-binding question: "Do you want industrial sodium fluoride added to the public water supply?"

Here is a condensed version of the warrant articles:

1. Accept the reports in the Annual Report.

2. Amend a bylaw regarding the 12-month fiscal year salary and compensation of elected officers.

3. Approve funding Manchester's portion of the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School District budget.

4. Confirm the town's operating budget, the details of which are available in the FY20 Finance Committee report.

5. Give various town offices a town-recommended $3.9 million on expenditures.

6.  Raise $255,000 for a new ambulance.

7. Raise $285,000 for drainage and sidewalk repair projects. These funds may also be used for a new Central Street culvert, if need be.

8. Approve funding Manchester's portion of the Manchester Essex Regional School District budget.

9. Raise $467,913 from the Community Preservation Fund to pay for 12 Community Preservation Committee expenses.

10. Earmark $10,000 from the town's budget for the town's upcoming 375th anniversary celebration.

11. Raise $25,8311 for the town's Other Post Employment Benefits Trust Fund.

12. Set the spending limitation for the Recreation Program's revolving budget at $280,000.

13. Update the general by-laws to include electronic voting as a method to be used at town meetings.

14. Add a new provision to the general bylaw that enforces the rule that all boards, committees and commissions must have meeting minutes and adopted rules and regulations approved with the town clerk for filing and online posting within seven business days.

15. Add to the general bylaw: Levy a graduated fine per dog/kennel against dog and/or kennel owners who fail to get a licence before March 31. The fine starts at $10 per month and maxes out at $30.

16. Approve a land gift for preservation from the House of the Seven Gables in Salem of a 24,000-square-foot parcel at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Overlege Road.

17. Asks to ban eateries from giving polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) products to customers. By citizens petition.

18. Asks voters this non-binding question: “Do you want industrial sodium fluoride added to the public water supply?” 

19. Raise $45,000 to purchase electronic voting equipment.

20. Use of any other available funds in the town budget to reduced the tax rate.

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

IF YOU GO

Who, what and why: Manchester's registered voters will attend Town Meeting to consider a 20-article warrant.

When: Monday, April 1, at 7 p.m.

Where: Memorial Elementary School gymnasium, 43 Lincoln St.

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