SPENCER – Town meeting voters will have the chance to clear some unpaid bills, adjust salaries for municipal employees and put a moratorium on large-scale ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installations.
The special Town Meeting begins at 7 p.m., Thursday (Nov. 9, 2023) at Spencer Memorial Town Hall. A quorum of 50 registered voters is needed to conduct the meeting, Town Administrator Jeff Bridges said.
Alongside the 6-month solar moratorium is a similar article seeking to pause, also for 6 months, the construction of energy storage systems which are often part of solar installations.
Both moratoriums are designed to give local officials time to develop proposals for new bylaws governing both solar installations and the energy storage systems which are similar to batteries, Bridges said, adding that state guidance on both matters will help them craft potential bylaws.
The warrant also contains several fiscal housekeeping articles including some requesting funds to cover bills received after the close of Fiscal Year 2023. The bills include Town Hall maintenance, meals for prisoners at the Spencer Police Department and $97,000 for unemployment.
The unemployment bill is high, Bridges explained, because the town is self-insured for unemployment. The state pays unemployment claims from Spencer employees and then bills the town, but a snafu in the billing process caused the bills to pile up, and now they must be paid.
Voters will also be asked to move just under $140,000 from free cash to the Senior Center Capital Improvement Account. The funds came from a rental agreement with the trial court, which leased space on the third floor of the Senior Center while the Western Worcester District Court in East Brookfield was undergoing renovations, Bridges explained.
Bridges along with town moderator, Bill Shemeth, presented a video presentation explaining each warrant article which can be seen here.
The entire 16-article warrant can be found on the town’s website. Selectmen and Finance Committee members are slated to meet at 6:30 p.m., Thursday in the McCourt Social Hall prior to the special Town Meeting.