3 Things You Should Know from the April 11 Selectmen's Meeting
Utility customers will receive a $65 refund on their bills this spring; a public hearing on a proposed petition to allow alcohol sales in town is set for April 24.
Don’t have time to watch last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting on local cable? Here are five things you should know about:
1. Money Back
All Needham residential customers will receive a refund on their water and sewer utility bills over the next few months—a flat credit of $65 per customer. In addition, both residential and commercial customers will receive a credit based on their usage—50 to 75 cents per 100 cubic feet of usage.
Needham Director of Finance David Davison said the average household would save about 5.7 percent on the annual water and sewer bill because of the credits.
The credits are made possible through a restructuring of the town’s water and sewer rate system, which took effect in 2005 and established the process of crediting ratepayers if revenues exceed targets.
Each utility customer will also receive an 11-cent credit—their share of a town-wide credit through the state’s sewer rate relief program.
2. Alcohol Sales Hearing
Selectmen voted support of several articles on the special and annual Town Meeting warrants but held off on voting on an article that would authorize the board to submit a home rule petition to the Massachusetts General Court to allow the sale of alcohol to be consumed off-premises in Needham.
The board will hold a second public hearing on the matter at the next meeting on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the James Hugh Powers Hall on the second floor of Town Hall. All concerned residents, particularly those who will not have the opportunity to vote on the issue at Town Meeting, are encouraged to attend.
The article limits the total licenses to six of any type, with an additional two added in five years (by Jan. 1, 2018) for a maximum allowance of up to eight businesses selling alcohol for consumption off-premises.
If approved at the May 7 Town Meeting, the home rule petition would be submitted to the state for approval, then the town would hold a referendum vote at an upcoming election to formally adopt the measure.
3. MBTA Cuts
Though the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has approved a round of service cuts and fare increases for fiscal year 2013, Needham officials aren’t accepting the decision as final—at least not in the long-term.
The MBTA Board voted Wednesday, April 4 to approve the latest proposal, which raises fares by about 23 percent across the system and cuts service in several areas, including taking away Saturday service on the Commuter Rail’s Needham Line. (Needham already does not have Sunday service.)
Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick said that the new proposal did include one important success—maintaining the local bus line, Route 59, that had been on the chopping block and which so many residents and workers in town rely on to connect to the Green Line.
The board plans to continue a discussion on the issue, including possibly submitting another letter to state officials expressing their concerns, at the April 24 meeting.